bean tips

Helen Fleischer (
Thu, 5 Jan 1995 02:05:11 GMT

Hi Sharon,
There's a wonderful article about beans in today's Washington Post.
Most interesting to me, was the list of troubleshooting hints at the
end, taken from "Beans: Seventy-nine Recipes for Beans, Lentils, Peas,
Peanuts and Other Legumes" by Tandy Leblang and Joanne Lamb Hayes:

*If your beans are TOO FIRM:

The beans were either stored too long or stored in a hot, dry place.
Solution: Cook them longer than usual.

The concentration of salt in your cooking liquid was too high.
Solution: Add salt late in the cooking period or count on cooking
longer than usual.

You added acid (like tomatoes, lemon juice or wine) too early.
Solution: Wait to add high-acid ingredients until beans are almost

*If your beans are TOO MUSHY:

You soaked them longer than necessary and didn't reduce cooking time to
Solution: Start checking the beans for doneness well before anticipated
cooking time has elapsed.

You added baking soda to soaking or cooking water, which causes beans
to soften faster. Unfortunately, how fast they soften is very difficult
to control. Start checking the beans for doneness well before time.

*If your beans LOSE THEIR SKINS during cooking:

You used the quick-soak method or cooked them without soaking.
Solution: Longer soaking allows the whole bean to expand at the same
rate and reduces splitting and skin loss.

You boiled them too rapidly.
Solution: A gentle simmer reduces splitting.

You cooled them after draining.
Solution: Beans resist cracking better if cooled in water.

... If we took the bones out it wouldn't be crunchy, would it?
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