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Christopher Greaves

Beans

As in beans for bean salad, beans for baked beans.

Beans of almost any sort – lima red kidney, black, chick peas. You name it.

The essence of boiling beans is to cook the beans to the tenderness you want.

The tenderness is controlled by the level of heat and the duration of cooking.

It seems obvious that controlling these two variables is the trick to consistently good beans.

Point 1: Each type of bean will require a different strategy. A wise cook keeps a diary and records and adjusts the steps as they develop.

Point 2: Soaking the beans in cold water softens them, and reduces the variable time needed for cooking to the desired point.

Point 3: My stove top differs from your stove top, which differs from all the stove tops ever mentioned in a cook book. It follows that when I say “Turn the element to LOW for 25 minutes”, that won’t work for you. It will be close, but not exact. A wise cook keeps a diary and records and adjusts the steps as they develop.

Point 4: A wise cook keeps a diary and records and adjusts the steps as they develop!

Here’s my fool-proof method for cooking beans, of any type:

(Record YOUR settings and timing on a sheet of paper)

Soak a half-cup of beans in cold tap water for two hours.

Bring a pan of water, with a pinch of salt, to the boil.

Strain the soaked beans and drop them into the pan of boiling water.

Place a lid on the pan and turn the pan to LOW.

After 26 minutes, strain the beans and store them in a lidded plastic container. Allow them to cool to room temperature before placing them in the refrigerator.

Note that I have used the setting marked “LOW” on my stove top, whose temperature or heat-flow will differ from yours. That’s why you will record, as did I, the time spent in the pot.

You may find that 25 minutes is too long, or that 30 minutes is not enough.

Determine your time, record it, and use it next time!


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Toronto, Friday, August 14, 2015 1:15 PM

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