Help! How Do I Properly Cook a Pot of Beans? Good Questions

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Q: I hate buying canned beans — the sodium, the shipping weight, the flavor, etc. But whenever i try to boil beans at home they NEVER GET SOFT. They have a bitter taste, and often go grey.

If you think it would be useful to others, I’d love to see a post about how to properly boil a good pot of beans.

Sent by Leigh Anne

Editor: Leigh Anne, wow! It sounds like beans have indeed been a nemesis. It’s hard to pin down exactly what your problem may be, but we’ll quickly recap the basics of cooking beans.

First of all, it’s best to soak them overnight. Next, cover them with water, and place a lid partially on the pot. You don’t want to cover them completely; let a little steam escape without letting all the water evaporate. Then you want to keep the water barely at a boil. Don’t let it boil heavily; you are really simmering the beans. They also then will need far longer than you may be letting them cook; depending on how fresh the beans are, they may take up to four hours to cook. Finally, don’t underestimate how much salt beans need! Salt until they taste good.

Here are a couple more good posts on cooking beans. And readers, what would you say to help out Leigh Anne?

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