Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cannellini Beans from Scratch

Recently, I started to build a dried bean collection. Dried beans, lentils and chickpeas of all colors and sizes. It is really easy to cook them, it just needs some planning ahead, i.e. they have to be soaked over night before usage. The benefit are beans with a tender but not mushy texture and a lot less sodium. And no fear of anything seeping into the beans from the metal can.
Since I refer to them in many of my recipes, I thought it would be good to have a post about how to prepare them.
Dried beans (or chickpeas) need about 12h of soaking. So, they can be soaked in the morning if used in the evening, or soaked over night. I typically pour them in a large glass jar or jug and leave a lot of room for them to expand while they soak up the water and plumb up. Here, I am using a cup of dried cannellini beans, and soak them overnight. In the morning, most of the water was absorbed and the beans had doubled in size.
Once they are plumbed up, I rinse them and pour them in a pot, cover them with water and through in 1-2 garlic cloves and a fresh bay leaf, and cook them for about 30min. At that point I taste the texture, and once I like the softness of the beans I take them off the heat. (Note, make sure to not eat raw beans since they contain high amounts of PHA, which can be toxic, but is removed once they are boiled at least 10min). Next step, rinse and store in the fridge for use within 2-3 days. Freeze for later usage, and keep on hand for soup, stews and salads.

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