hard beans

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by hoplandhophead, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. hoplandhophead

    hoplandhophead

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    Greetings: Ever since I moved I have had difficulty getting beans, even lentils, to cook thoroughly. I soak the beans over night and do not salt until the end of cooking. I live at 1,770', have well water, and cook with propane. Last week I soaked lentils for 6-8 hours, and cooked for close to three hours and they were still al dente. I would appreciate any ideas on what is happening here or what I might try. jeff
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    They might be old as that's one thing that can make them hard. Your elevation isn't such that I would think it woud be a problem.

    Try a pressure cooker. Fast and works well, even at altitude or with old beans.
     
  3. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Age certainly can be a factor when cooking beans.

    But, given the soaking and cooking time you describe for lentils, I suspect you have a high mineral content in your well water, and that's affecting the cooking process.
     
  4. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

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    Altitude has a lot to do with it but try soaking them overnight with sodium bicarbonate in the water this should help.a put in a much larger vessel then you normally use as they expand a lot.:chef:
     
  5. amazingrace

    amazingrace

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    Typically, adjustments do not need to be made until you get above 3,000 feet. My first guess, since you are having trouble across the board, would be the water. Try soaking and cooking the beans in bottled water. Yes, using bicarbonate of soda (aka baking soda) may help to soften the skins, but if the water has a high mineral content, the soda is not likely to help overcome that problem.
    Phatch suggested using the pressure cooker, and that is a good approach. Visit my cooking group , for more information on using the pressure cooker for beans. There is even instructions for the quick soak method, which you may use with or without the PC. You will want to soak the beans, drain off that water and start the cooking process with fresh water. I am at 6,300 ft and have no trouble with cooking dried beans to perfection (not bragging...just stating the fact).
     
  6. hoplandhophead

    hoplandhophead

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    Thank you all. I suspected the water and tried soaking them in bottled water and then i, possibly wrongly, figured that boiling the well water would knock out the minerals. I like the sound of the pressure cooker and, after visiting amazingrace's group, I am very interested in pursuing that avenue. jeff
     
  7. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Jeff,

    Some chemicals can be removed by boiling, but not minerals. Sometimes, when boiling, some of them will precipitate out. But more often not.

    You should have your water tested, regardless, and, if necessary, install a softening/filtering system.

    When you tried using bottled water what was the result?
     
  8. amazingrace

    amazingrace

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