Sorting beans before soaking is important to remove any small rocks, pieces of dirt, beans with holes or cavities, wrinkled, undersized or discoloured. Then you may rinse them.

Soaking is an essential step in bean preparation. The purpose of soaking is to begin rehydration before cooking, thereby reducing cooking time. Unsoaked beans take longer to cook and require more attention so they won’t cook dry.
During soaking beans make up their lost water, increasing up to twice their dried size. Enough water must be used to keep the beans covered while soaking. Once rehydrated, beans cook in 1 to 3 hours, depending on the type of bean. Add approx. 3 cups of water per cup of dried beans be sure to start with a large enough container/pot.

There are basically two methods for soaking: long-soak and quick-soak. Both work equally well and differ only in the amount of time required to rehydrate the beans. Choose the one which best suits your time and schedule.

Long-soaking takes time and some advance planning, but needs very little effort. First, cover the beans with water at room temperature. Soak them overnight or for 8-10 hours in a cool place. Be sure the soak water is at room temperature. Cold water slows rehydration and the beans will take longer to cook.

Cooking time will also be longer if beans are not soaked long enough – at least 8 hours. Beans soaked longer than 12 hours can absorb too much water and lose their characteristic texture and flavour.

Quick-soaking rehydrates dried beans in little more than 1 hour. For most cooks, this is the most convenient method. Bring the beans and water for soaking to a boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove the beans from the heat and cover the pot. Let the beans stand in the soak water for 1 hour.. At the end of the hour, discard the soak water and cook the beans.

Hot-soak. The Preferred Hot Soak is the newest method for soaking beans. Instructions for the Preferred Hot Soak are as follows:

In a large pot add 10 cups of water for each pound (2 cups) of dry beans. Bring to a boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes, remove from heat, cover and stand at least 1 hour (quick-soak method), but preferably 4 hours. (The longer soaking time is recommended to allow a greater amount of sugar to dissolve, thus helping the beans to be more easily digested.) Whether you soak the beans for one hour or several, discard soak water& rinse beans.

Cooking without soaking

Beans don’t have to be soaked before they are cooked. Soaking shortens cooking time. Because unsoaked beans have to cook longer, they require more energy from your stove.
To cook beans without soaking, use twice the amount of cooking water specified in the recipe. Combine the water and rinsed beans in the pot and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. The beans rehydrate while cooking so you will have to watch them carefully and add more water whenever necessary to keep them covered. Cooking time for unsoaked beans can vary up to 2 hours. Most beans will be tender in 2 to 3 hours.

Note: Increase both the soaking and cooking time in hard water or high altitudes, or if you are using older beans, which because of my high turnover rate, will not happen. ?
Store your beans in a moisture free container and they will keep almost indefinitely.
Do not store dried beans in the fridge.

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Discard the soaking water, rinse and parboil beans as per instruction of soup mix label. It will take about 4-5 hours to cook them in a slow cooker (crock pot). The advantage of using a crock pot is that you can put the food in it, turn it on and forget it. Several hours later the dish is ready to eat. If your want to experiment with your crock pot, try cooking soaked beans for 2 or 3 hours on high then turn the heat setting to low for the next few hours, very convienent if you are leaving the house and worried about the high setting for several hours. FYI I have left my crock pot on the high setting all day without a problem.


The best cookware for beans is a large heavy metal, stainless steel pot or saucepan.
Cooking beans on top of the stove is a method that requires you to be present, although not continuously involved. To cook beans on your stove-top, combine soaked beans with your ingredients as per recipe, bring the beans to a boil, reduce the heat, then cover and simmer until beans are tender. This takes approx. 2-3 hours.

Hints and tips

• A pound of beans measures about 2 cups. Beans triple in volume when soaked and cooked
• A cup of dried beans will yield 3 cups cooked. A pound will yield 6 cups
• For soaking use 3 cups of water per cup of dried beans. A pound of dried beans makes about 12 servings of soup.

Beans keep indefinitely in a cool, dry place (not in fridge).
The long storage of beans may cause the colour to fade slightly but the taste will not be altered.

When dried beans boil, a foam forms on the top of the cooking liquid. This foam is water-soluble protein released from the beans and it will be absorbed back into the bean cooking liquid. It is not necessary to remove the foam. To keep the foam down add 1 tablespoon of butter or vegetable oil.

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