National Bean Day: Tips and Recipes for this powerhouse pantry staple!
Say goodbye to gritty, sandy beans
If your beans are sandy when they are done they are probably slightly under-cooked. The challenging part of cooking beans and legumes is that even if a recipe calls for a certain cooking time, beans and legumes from different sources may cook at slightly different times. It’s always best to use TASTE as your gauge on done-ness. If the recipe says cook for 60 minutes and the beans taste sandy, try letting them cook 10 more minutes and taste again. They should taste smooth, but firm when they are done.
Cooking method we love: try using an Instant Pot!
In the case of beans, the biggest pro using an Instant Pot is the consistency of the finished product and control over the cooking environment. We’ve found the Instant Pot to deliver consistently smooth, perfectly cooked beans, and once you’ve figured out the time and pressure level it’s 100% awesome every time!
The absolute worst thing you can do when cooking beans is to boil them. Boiling beans cracks their skins, which leads to an uneven consistency in your finished products. Burst beans will be mushy while sunburst beans might be hard. It also sometimes makes the bean liquid grainy, and mushy bean-insides leak out into your cooking liquid. Using an Instant Pot cooks your beans under pressure, allowing them to cook quickly, but never boil. If you’re using an Instant Pot, make sure to let the pressure release on its own.
A bonus benefit of using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot: no soaking! No planning ahead, just throw everything in and let it cook. You can soak them if you want to and the cooking time will be even less, but most recipes you will find for Instant Pot beans will call for un-soaked beans. Be careful – if you do soak your beans first, make sure to reduce the cooking time to avoid mushy, overcooked beans.
Bonus Tip: Beans are an amazing nutrient-dense superfood. If you’re trying to incorporate more of them into your diet try blending cooked chickpeas, white beans, or other beans until smooth and then adding a cup or so to a soup or stew.
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