Cooking Dry Beans

10 Mar

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Cooking dry beans? How boring and simple a concept is that?

I just cooked some great dried-but-not-old beans (Good Mother Stallard beans from this summer’s back yard garden, picked once the pods got papery and brittle and just stored in a mason jar), so I’m jotting down a few notes.

I didn’t soak them overnight. I covered them with a few inches of water, fairly heavily salted (a palmful of salt, such that it actually tastes like salty water, though not seawater), added a spoonful of olive oil, a whole peeled shallot, and maybe 1/2 tsp each of mustard seed and fennel seed.

Then I brought them to a very low simmer and let them cook uncovered… they took just under two hours to be creamy-soft and delicious.

A few months later, I cooked some larger Akahana Mame and Shirohana Mame dried beans from this summer’s garden, with a similar approach (plus a four-hour pre-soak), and they took about four hours to be creamy-soft and done (the Shirohana Mame were ready at three hours).

On the other hand, cooking similar dried beans from last year’s garden took almost six hours, even with some pre-soaking, so it seems to dependĀ  how old they are (and perhaps how dry they got before being picked?)

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