The Macomb Daily



Tips for making bean soup

PICKING OVER DRIED BEANS >> Pour the raw, dried beans onto a white kitchen towel, then spread them out and have a good look; I recently found an ittybitty rock in some dried navy beans.

SOAK TO UNMAKE “THE MISCHIEF” >> I love how cookbook author Dragonwago­n describes intestinal gas as mischief. Help to de-gas dried beans by soaking them in cold water (the level of the water should be 2 inches above the surface of the beans) for 6-8 hours. Or use the quick method: Place beans in pot and cover with water by 1-2 inches. Boil vigorously for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and allow beans to sit in the water for 1 hour. With either method, drain and rinse beans well after soaking.


A study at UC Berkeley found that bean-eating subjects “reported greater tolerance and less discomfort by the end of a three-week period of bean eating.”

SALT?: >> Don’t add until the beans are thoroughly cooked and tender. The same goes for vinegar, lemon juice and tomatoes. These ingredient­s toughen the outer coats or skins of the beans. When adding salt at the end, do so to taste. Cooked (dried) beans need salt to be happy.


>> Between 6% and 11% of dried beans’ cooked weight is protein; half a cup of cooked beans, depending on variety, has about 8 grams (an egg has 6).

SHOPPING TIPS >> When purchasing packaged dried beans, look for undamaged bags or boxes with beans of uniform size. As tempting as the assorted beans appear, arranged in their clear cellophane packages, I steer clear of most dried “bean soup mixes.” Due to the difference­s in size and density of the beans, they require different cooking times; sometimes the results are unsatisfac­tory.

STORAGE >> Store dried beans in a well-sealed container at cool room temperatur­e. They should keep for up to one year. They will take longer to cook as they age. Do not mix older dried beans with a new batch; cooking times of old and new supply will likely vary. Refrigerat­e leftover cooked dried beans, airtight, up to 4 days. Bean soups freeze beautifull­y; eat within 3 months for best flavor.

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Bean Soup

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