Parker is the president of the Dried Bean Fan Club here at Fresh Fork, so we wanted to give you his guide to cooking our dried beans.
His general advice is to cook the whole package all at once, and then to freeze in individual portions (1-2 cups) in their liquid for easy cooking use. The cooking time (for the Long Cook stage) varies based on what type of bean you are cooking and what type of pot you are using.
Optional extras to have on hand:
– ½ cup each of diced onion, carrot and celery
– 1 bay leaf and ½ of dried thyme
– A cup of stock, and or some tomato paste
SIFT AND SORT
Spread the beans on a tray, and push them around with your hand. Pick out any broken pieces or pieces that look damaged, or anything that is not a bean. Shake the tray to look for pieces of bean shell or other impurities.
Place the beans in a bowl and cover with cold water, about 2 or 3 inches over the beans. Soak overnight, or for 6 or 8 hours.
Strain the beans and rinse. Place the beans in the cooking pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for a couple of minutes and strain.
Rinse the pan and add the rinsed beans and clean water. Bring to a boil again. Skim for a couple of minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add all the carrot, onion, celery, bay leaf and thyme, if using. Taste, after an hour or so, for doneness- when you can press a bean up against the roof of your mouth with your tongue and smash it, it’s done. If the beans are starting to burst, turn the heat down.
Do not add salt until the beans are cooked (it will break them down.)
Optional to add some meat stock or vegetable stock here. If you are using vegetable stock or water add a couple of teaspoons of tomato paste.
Always keep the water just under a boil with an occasional bubbling. A hard boil causes the bean to burst. You will note that these beans cook in less time that most commercial beans, for two reasons: first, these were recently harvested (in the Fall) and hand-shelled, and then they were not artificially dried with heat, but instead allowed to dry naturally.