Thursday, October 05, 2006

Beans and Lentils

From: How To Read A French Fry

*You don't need to soak dried beans before cooking them. It will speed their cooking time, but diminish the flavor.

*Salt dried beans when you start to cook them, to season them through. Allow about 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of beans. After cooking, you can add more salt if you want.

*Always begin cooking beans, lentils and other legumes in cold water.

*Mineral salts will slow the softening of dried beans. If you have repeated problems with legumes that won't soften, have your tap water checked.

*If you want your beans to be separate and light-like rice-cook them in lots of water.

*Beans are done when they are tender through-there should be no chalky center. Another way to test is by picking up a bean on a spoon and then blowing on it. If the skin wrinkles, the underlying starch has been cooked thoroughly.

*When serving beans or lentils cold, as in a salad, follow the same guidelines as for rice: season them while they are still warm so that the flavors can penetrate, and allow the refrigerated beans to come to room temperature before serving.

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