Monday, March 24, 2014

How to Cook Beans or Legumes

 

Dried legumes, such as black beans, kidney and lima, are filled with starchy carbohydrates. They require lengthy cooking times in water to soften, hydrate and expand. Split peas and lentils cook in shorter times. Legumes may be presoaked in warm water with salt or baking soda to help to break down their cell coats and reduce their cooking time. But this practice has downsides. Salt adds sodium to the cooked legumes (and to the diet). Baking soda may affect both the taste and the mouthfeel of cooked legumes. It also contains sodium (sodium bicarbonate).

As heat and water break down the cell walls of legumes, pectin, the “glue” that holds the cells together, softens and dissolves. This also helps to tenderize the legumes. Too much rapidly boiling water may cause the legumes to disintegrate. To keep the bean coats intact, add an acidic ingredient and one that contains sugar, such as cabbage or tomatoes, and cook the beans at a slow, low temperature. Both the acid and the sugar react with the surface of the beans and prevent hot water from entering the cell walls and cooking the starch.

Type of Legumes

Many supermarkets and food stores stock a wide variety of legumes — both dried and canned. Below are several of the more common types and their typical uses.

Type of Legume
Common Uses
Adzuki beans
Adzuki beans Also known as field peas or red oriental beans
Soups, sweet bean paste, and Japanese and Chinese dishes
Anasazi beans
Anasazi beans Also known as Jacob's cattle beans
Soups and Southwestern dishes; can be used in recipes that call for pinto beans
Black beans
Black beans Also known as turtle beans
Soups, stews, rice dishes and Latin American cuisines
Black-eyed peas
Black-eyed peas Also known as cowpeas
Salads, casseroles, fritters and Southern dishes
Chickpeas
Chickpeas Also known as garbanzo or ceci beans
Casseroles, hummus, minestrone soup, and Spanish and Indian dishes
Edamame
Edamame Also known as green soybeans
Snacks, salads, casseroles and rice dishes
Fava beans
Fava beans
Also known as broad or horse beans
Stews and side dishes
Lentils
Lentils
Soups, stews, salads, side dishes and Indian dishes
Lima beans
Lima beans Also known as butter or Madagascar beans
Succotash, casseroles, soups and salads
Kidney beans
Red kidney beans
Stews, salads, chili and rice dishes
Soy nuts
Soy nuts Also known as roasted soybeans or soya beans
Snacks or garnish for salads



How to Prepare Legumes?

Dried beans and legumes, with the exceptions of black-eyed peas and lentils, require soaking in room-temperature water, a step that rehydrates them for more even cooking. Before soaking, pick through the beans, discarding any discolored or shriveled ones or any foreign matter. Place beans in a large saucepan; add enough water to cover, and soak if needed using one of the methods enumerated below. Depending on how much time you have, choose one of the following soaking methods: 

Slow Soak Method: In a stockpot, cover 1 pound dried beans with 10 cups water. Cover and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours or overnight.

Hot Soak Method: In a stockpot, bring 10 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 pound dried beans and return to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover tightly and set aside at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours.

Quick Soak Method:. Place dried legumes in a large saucepan; add enough water to cover. Heat to boiling; boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for at least 1 hour. Drain then cook in fresh, cold water.

Long-Soak Method: Place dried legumes in a large saucepan or bowl; add enough cold water to cover. Let stand 8 to 24 hours. Drain then cook in fresh, cold water.
Drain and add fresh water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low; then cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for the amount of time specified below.

Gas-free Soak Method: In a stockpot, place 1 pound of beans in 10 or more cups of boiling water. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Then cover and set aside overnight. The next day 75 to 90 percent of the indigestible sugars that cause gas will have dissolved into the soaking water.


TIMETABLE FOR COOKING DRIED BEANS

The chart below details how much water and how much time 1 cup of grains or legumes would need to cook completely at simmering temperature (about 200F or 93C) in a saucepan that's covered or semi-covered. Please note that all measurements are approximate.

Cooking Times for Grains and Beans

1 Cup Grain
or Legume
Water Needed
Cooking Time
Cups Yielded
Adzuki Beans
4 cups (945 mL)
50 minutes
3 cups (710 mL)
Anasazi Beans
2 ¾ cups (650 mL)
50 minutes
2 ¼ cups (530 mL)
Amaranth
2 cups (475 mL)
30 minutes
2 ½ cups (590 mL)
Barley, whole
3 cups (710 mL)
50 minutes
3 ½ cups (830 mL)
Barley, pearled
2 ½ cups (590 mL)
40 minutes
3 ½ cups (830 mL)
Black Beans
4 cups (945 mL)
1 hour, 15 minutes
2 ¼ cups (530 mL)
Black-eyed Peas
3 cups (710 mL)
1 hour
2 cups (475 mL)
Buckwheat
2 cups (475 mL)
15 minutes
3 ½ cups (830 mL)
Cannellini Beans
3 cups (710 mL)
45 minutes
2 ½ cups (590 mL)
Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
4 cups (945 mL)
1 hour, 15 minutes
2 cups (475 mL)
Fava Beans
3 cups (710 mL)
50 minutes
1 ¾ cups (415 mL)
Kamut
3 cups (710 mL)
40 minutes
2 ½ cups (590 mL)
Kidney Beans
3 cups (710 mL)
1 hour
2 ¼ cups (530 mL)
Lima Beans
4 cups (945 mL)
1 hour
2 ½ cups (590 mL)
Millet
3 cups (710 mL)
30 minutes
3 ½ cups (830 mL)
Mung Beans
2 ½ cups (590 mL)
1 hour
2 cups (475 mL)
Navy Bean
3 cups (710 mL)
50 minutes
2 ¾ cups (650 mL)
Oats, whole
3 cups (710 mL)
1 hour
3 ½ cups (830 mL)
Oats, rolled
2 ½ cups (590 mL)
15 minutes
3 ½ cups (830 mL)
Orzo
2 cups (475 mL)
20 minutes
3 cups (710 mL)
Peas, green
6 cups (1.4 L)
1 hour, 30 minutes
2 cups (475 mL)
Pinto beans
3 cups (710 mL)
1 hour, 15 minutes
2 ¾ cups (650 mL)
Quinoa
2 cups (475 mL)
20 minutes
2 ¾ cups (650 mL)
Rice: Short Brown
2 cups (475 mL)
55 minutes
3 cups (710 mL)
Rice: Long Brown
1 ½ cups (355 mL)
45 minutes
3 cups (710 mL)
Rice: Brown Basmati
1 ½ cups (355 mL)
45 minutes
3 cups (710 mL)
Rice: Short White
1 ½ cups (355 mL)
15 minutes
3 cups (710 mL)
Rice: Long White
2 cups (475 mL)
15 minutes
3 cups (710 mL)
Rice: White Basmati
1 ¾ cups (415 mL)
35 minutes
3 cups (710 mL)
Rice: Wild
2 ½ cups (590 mL)
50 minutes
4 cups (945 mL)
Rye, whole
2 ½ cups (590 mL)
1 hour
3 cups (710 mL)
Rye, flaked
3 cups (710 mL)
30 minutes
3 cups (710 mL)
Spelt
3 cups (710 mL)
25 minutes
2 ½ cups (590 mL)
Teff
4 cups (945 mL)
20 minutes
3 ½ cups (830 mL)
Wheat
3 cups (710 mL)
1 hour
2 ½ cups (590 mL)
Soy beans
4 cups (945 mL)
3 hours, 30 minutes
3 cups (710 mL)



GENERAL TIPS ON COOKING WITH LEGUMES

This guide is for cooking dried legumes from scratch, which is by far the most inexpensive, fresh and tasty  way to enjoy them. However, canned beans can be a good choice in a pinch. If you opt for canned, look for varieties that do not contain chemical preservatives, and be sure to rinse them thoroughly to remove excess sodium that may have been included in the canning liquid.

Some dried beans such as black, navy and kidney beans are found in typical supermarkets, but you will have better luck finding more obscure beans, such as adzuki beans and unique lentil varieties at your local natural foods store or ethnic market. For all dried legumes:

1) Opt for organic varieties from the bulk bins of health food stores whenever possible - they have higher turnover rates, which improves the likelihood of freshness.

2) Store in airtight containers in a cool, dry place that is not in direct sunlight. Generally, if done properly, they can be stored up to one year.

3) Before preparing, it is advisable to spread them out on a light surface to check for and remove any small stones, spoiled beans or other debris. Then, place in a strainer and rinse under cool water.

4) Almost all legumes - split peas and lentils being the exceptions - should be soaked prior to cooking. Soaking improves digestibility and decreases cooking time. Place rinsed, dried beans in a pot and add water until it is roughly three inches above the beans. Cover the pot and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour for small beans, six hours or overnight for larger varieties. Then drain the soaking water - don't use it for cooking, as it's full of difficult-to-digest starches that can cause flatulence and other digestive woes.

5) The instructions in the list are for stovetop preparation in a pot. But you can also use a pressure cooker for most of these beans, which can reduce cooking times by up to 80 percent. See the instructions that were included with your cooker for details on the amount of liquid needed and cooking times.

6) You can also cook your legumes in vegetable stock instead of water for added flavor, but do not add any salt or acidic ingredients like tomatoes or lemon juice - either will toughen the beans and greatly increase cooking time. As a general rule, wait until beans are done or nearly done cooking before seasoning.

7) To further reduce the gas-producing properties of beans, add a large strip of dried kombu seaweed to the pot of beans and water prior to boiling. Remove the kombu once cooking is finished. You can find kombu in your local natural foods store or in ethnic markets. Adding a slice or two of ginger or some fennel or cumin seeds can also help. Additionally, skimming and discarding the foam during boiling is also an effective means of gas reduction.

8) To cook: Refill the pot with fresh, cold water for cooking (three cups per cup of soaked beans is a good general rule, but optimal amounts for each legume variety are provided). Bring to a boil in a pot with a lid. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, tilt the lid slightly to allow steam to escape, and leave to cook for the designated time. Beans are done when they are tender; though if you desire an even softer texture (useful for some recipes that call for mashed beans) simply cook them longer. Try these legumes as part of a healthy diet plan.

9) After soaking, rinse beans and add to a stockpot. Cover the beans with three times their volume of water. Add herbs or spices as desired. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender. The cooking time depends on the type of bean, but start checking after 45 minutes. Add more water if the beans become uncovered.

10) Add salt or acidic ingredients, such as vinegar, tomatoes or juice, near the end of the cooking time, when the beans are just tender. If these ingredients are added too early, they can make the beans tough and slow the cooking process.

11) Beans are done when they can be easily mashed between two fingers or with a fork.

12) To freeze cooked beans for later use, immerse them in cold water until cool, then drain well and freeze.

13) One pound of dried beans yields about 5 or 6 cups cooked beans. A 15-ounce can of beans equals about 1 1/2 cups cooked beans, drained.


On you know how to cook legumes, now try this healthy and delicious recipe... Feijoada Completa- Smoked Meat and Black Bean Stew

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