Useless Cooking Tip #2: Fast Soaking Beans

Two years ago, in a night of cooking and drinking, a YouTube video was born

Thanks to the power of iMovie, it now has a sequel of vastly superior production quality

And while we’re on the subject of beans, some not so useless information…

1. A lot of people pour out their bean soaking liquid instead of cooking the beans in it.  That’s a shame because there are a lot of nutrients–not to mention flavor–inside that water.  Keep it.

2. I have no scientific evidence to support this claim, but I have found that overnight soaking results in a more evenly cooked pot of beans.  Certainly, with something natural, and not quite uniform like dried beans, you’re going to get a little variation in cooking, but it definitely seems to be reduced with a good 12 hour soak.

3. The overnight soaking seems to also reduce flatulence.

4. Big beans tend to need more than an inch of water.  By big I mean something like the scarlet runner beans Rancho Gordo sometimes sells. I’ll try to take a better picture of mine to show scale because they’re practically the size of in-shell pecans.

5. Many people will tell you not to put salt in your bean cooking water.  I think that’s bogus and I do it–though depending on the cooking length of the beans, I might do it midway through.  I also put in some olive oil and a bay leaf.  I have no particular reason for doing that which I’m aware of.  I just do.

6. You can actually cook beans without overnight or fast soaking.  They just take longer to cook.  See ,also, #3.  I have especially  noticed that issue with cannelini beans.

7. We eat a lot of beans.

8. We buy them from Phipp’s Country Store (which Atlas turned us on to) or Rancho Gordo.  Quality has been the same from both, with Phipp’s sometimes being cheaper.

8. My favorite beans are Steuben Yellow Eye Beans, though the Alubia Criollo’s in the video were outstanding.  They were very meaty.

And finally, a bonus useless tip–or clarification…

1. I didn’t mention it in that video, but bring the beans to a boil and then pull them off the burner and let them soak. Don’t just leave them at a boil for an hour.

3 Responses to “Useless Cooking Tip #2: Fast Soaking Beans”

  1. wineguy Says:

    Wow. All I can say is: Best. Bean. Related. Video. Ever.

  2. eliotfagley Says:

    You know what I love about this video? The hand. It’s expressive and committed to the role without overdoing it. I have never been more convinced that it was, indeed, a hand I was watching. Unbelievable command performance.


  3. Mac Says:

    >3. The overnight soaking seems
    >to also reduce flatulence.

    This is a pretty important revelation IMO. Just what kinds of scientific testing did you utilize to come to this conclusion? Were you able to measure output in either terms of joules or calories?

    And given the unchanging laws of thermodynamics, I wonder just where all that heat went?

    Like many others, I would love to see video of the testing and evaluation processes as well.


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