Many soup recipes like the one featured in this week’s Organic Authority Cooking School call for fiber-rich dried beans. If you’re pressed for time, you can substitute canned organic beans, which provide an easy shortcut. I find, however, that you sacrifice a bit of flavor, and your beans may turn mushy. If you do take this route, always drain the beans before adding them to your soup.
Dried beans require soaking time before you add them to a soup or other dish. There are two key reasons:
- You soften the beans by rehydrating them.
- You eliminate some of the natural substances that cause gas or flatulence, thereby facilitating digestion.
Method #1: Overnight Soak
Place your beans in a pot. Cover them with cold water (about 4 inches about bean level). Leave them on the kitchen counter overnight, allowing them to soak for at least 12 hours. Drain the pot before adding the beans to your soup.
Method #2: Quick Boil
You can accelerate the soaking process with quick-boiling. Add beans to a pot, covering them with cold water (again, about 4 inches above bean level). Bring them to a boil, and boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let them stand, covered, for about an hour. Drain the pot before adding the beans to your soup.
Organic Shopping List
This week’s recipe, which will be posted on Friday, calls for 1/2 cup dried black beans (also called “turtle” beans) or 1½ cups canned black beans (drained). Why the difference in proportion? Dried beans will triple in size when you cook them.