Soaking dried beans
For the best results, soak your beans overnight. However, in a pinch, you can do a quick soak about an hour beforehand.
- Rinse beans in cold water, picking out any shrunken ones as well as pebbles or grass (beans are very much a product of the earth and even the highest quality brands may have dust and little rocks in them).
- Place in a pot with at least 750ml of water for every cup of beans – refrigerate overnight.
- Discard any beans that float to the top – these are most likely hollow, or they may have been sullied by mould or insects.
- Rinse and pick through beans, then place them in a pot with enough cold water to cover them by 5cm.
- Bring to the boil, cap the pot with a tight-fitting lid, remove from the heat and let sit for one hour.
- You can either keep the cooking water and proceed with your recipe, or you can drain the beans and start again with fresh water. (Using fresh cooking water will not, as some cooks claim, reduce beans' gas-causing properties. To build up your body's ability to digest beans, simply eat them more often.)