Beyond the BabySteps: Legumes: Let’s Talk About Beans

Home / BabySteps / Legumes / Beyond the BabySteps: Legumes: Let’s Talk About Beans

If you have followed our blog closely, you know that Julie has been afraid of using dry beans in her cooking but has made some great progress this year. In case you missed her Magical Fruit Post, take a quick look to see what we mean (and also learn more about the nutritional benefits of beans).

Although this information maybe seem a little “boring” we found it on the USU Extension and thought it would be a good reference to share for any of you who may also be a little “afraid” of beans.


Soaking Beans:

1. Quick Soak Method: hot soaking helps dissolve some of the gas-causing substances. Cover beans with twice as much water as beans, bring to a boil, boil 2 minutes, remove from heat and allow to soak at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. Discard soaking liquid.
2. Traditional Overnight Soak: Cover with twice as much water as beans and soak 8-18 hours in cool place, discard soaking water.
3. Do not salt soaking liquid. It will toughen the bean.
4. It is not necessary to soak split peas and lentils.

Cooking Legumes:

1. Beans will double to triple in size during soaking and cooking. In other words, 1 cup dry beans will produce 2-3 cups of cooked beans.
2. The slower the beans are cooked the easier they are to digest. Slow cooker cooking on low for 6-10 hours is perfect.
3. If adding water to cooking beans is necessary, bring water to a boil before adding. Adding cold water to boiling beans will toughen beans and slow down cooking process.

Softening Old Beans:

The older the bean the tougher it is and less digestible. Following are a few tips to soften old beans.
1. Cook and freeze. The freezing moisture in the bean helps to rupture the cell wall and create a more palatable product.
2. Pressure cook. Follow manufacturer’s directions for using pressure cooker. Increase cooking time as needed to produce a desired texture.
3. Pressure-can beans. This method makes a readily usable product as well as softens beans. Follow USDA canning instructions below for pressuring.

Increasing Consumption of Beans:

You should eat beans about 2-3 times a week. (2½ to 3 cups per week)
1. Plan menus.
2. Puree cooked beans and add to baked goods (bread, cake, cookies, etc.). Substitute pureed beans for shortening or margarine, straight across. (equal amounts)
3. Prepare convenience foods such as home canned dry beans or cook and freeze for later use.
4. Add whole mashed beans to meatloaves, soups, stews, casseroles (in small amounts to begin with, then increase as desired, and as allowed by family taste preference.)

FREE checklists to make your life easier

Start today and get our 4 favorite downloads to help you build and use your food storage!