Soak first

While some will advocate cooking the beans from dry, they simply cook better when soaked as they are already re-plumped. Cooking from dry simply means the first hour or so of cooking time is ‘wasted’ re-plumping the beans.

Fortunately, you needn’t be around for this part!

Simply pop them in a bowl of water where they are well covered, add a splash of vinegar to the water (not too much or the skins will toughen) and leave them on the counter overnight. Anywhere over 12 hours will do.
You can also do a ‘quick’ soak by heating water to a vigorous boil, popping the beans in for 10-15 minutes, and then soaking for an hour.
Remember to discard this water and rinse them off.


To cook your prepared beans, bring your water to a boil first before adding the beans.

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Let them cook on high for 15 minutes, then reduce to a low simmer. It should take about one to two hours for most bean varieties.

If you know you have old beans, or if they’re not softening well, add a ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to the mix to help soften them. This will leech some of their B vitamins, however.

Don’t add salt till midway through the cooking process, and add tomato or acids like vinegar at the end of the process.

Delicious beans await you – get cooking today!

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.