Before you leave for work in the morning, wash and pick over the beans. Place them in a heavy pot, covered with cold water by several inches. Put a tight fitting lid on top.
After 8-12 hours (which works out perfectly to when I get home from work) the beans will have expanded significantly.
Drain the beans ( so that you discard the soaking water).
Return them to a large pot, and cover with cool water by several inches. Check the beans to see how much water the have absorbed while soaking.
I like to add some kombu to the beans while they cook. The amino acids in kombu help to soften the beans, thus making them easier to digest.
For every cup or so of dried beans, add a postage sized stamp of kombu.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so that the beans bubble gently. Cover partially, stirring occasionally. Check ever 10 minutes or so for doneness. Add more water if necessary.
Season with salt in the last 15 or 20 minutes of cooking.
The bean should be firm, but creamy on the inside, when done. Note that cooking times for different types of beans, and how long they have been sitting in your pantry, vary greatly.
Drain beans, and then enjoy in your favorite bean dish. Cooked beans can be stored in the fridge for a couple days, or in the freezer for a month.
- Dried beans, any type
- Large heavy pot
San Francisco, California