Beans are a wonderful way to add high-quality, plant-based protein to your diet. They are high in iron, B vitamins and fiber, and are versatile enough that you may never tire of them. Dry beans stay fresh longer when stored in a cool, dark place (rather than on your countertop). Don’t use beans that are more than a year old, as their nutrient content and digestibility are much lower. Also, old beans will not soften, even with thorough cooking.
1. Check beans for rocks and shriveled or broken pieces, then rinse.
2. Soak for six hours or overnight, with water covering four inches higher than the beans. Small and medium-size beans may require less soaking—about four hours should be enough.
Note: If you’ve forgotten to presoak the beans, you can bring them to a boil in ample water to cover. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let stand for one hour.
3. Drain and rinse the beans, discarding the soaking water. Always discard any loose skins before cooking, as this will increase digestibility.
4. Place the beans in a heavy pot and add 3 to 4 cups fresh water.
5. Bring to a full boil and skim off the foam.
6. Add a small piece of kombu (seaweed) and a few bay leaves or garlic cloves for flavor and better digestibility.
7. Cover, lower the temperature and simmer for the suggested time. Check beans 30 minutes before the minimum cooking time. Beans are done when the middle is soft and easy to squeeze.
8. About 10 minutes before the end of cooking time, add 1 teaspoon of unrefined sea salt.
9. Cook until beans are tender
1 cup dry beans