Let me start out with an explanation of how to use dried beans for recipes (i.e. make them soft enough to use), and then I will explain why you might want to do this, instead of opening a can of beans.
How to Make Dried Beans Soft:
1. For best results, most dried beans should be soaked for at least 6 hours or overnight before cooking.
2. Drain after soaking and cook the beans in fresh water. Use a ratio of 1 cup of beans to 3 cups of water.
3. Most beans require about 1½ to 2 hours of cooking to become soft. Lentils and split peas require only 1 hour and do not need to be soaked prior to cooking.
4. Make sure the beans are thoroughly cooked, as they are more difficult to digest when undercooked.
Why Would You Want to Use Dried Beans?
Dried beans can be cooked and used in place of canned beans in recipes. This is a beneficial way to avoid salt and improve the health value of the food.
Also, canned beans can have a surprising amount of added sugar. For example, I went and grabbed a can of Dark Red Kidney Beans from my cupboard and the six ingredients are:
- prepared kidney beans
- calcium chloride (for firmness)
- disodium EDTA added as a preservative
So, by using dried beans you will need to plan ahead, but you will be avoiding the sugar, salt, and preservatives found in canned beans.
About the Author
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.