Learning how to soak beans is very easy, but it’s a staple of any traditional cook’s kitchen. Soaking beans makes them easier to digest and more nourishing. Learn why that is — and how to do it!
How to Soak Beans
Many places talk about doing a “quick soak” which can mean anything from boiling the beans for 10 minutes and letting them sit an hour to microwaving them for a few minutes and calling it good. Yuck. Do not do this.
Traditional, long soaking removing the phytic acid and other junk from the beans. If you think you can’t eat beans because they will give you gas — this only occurs when beans are not properly soaked! If you’ve avoided beans you may just be able to eat them again. Which is awesome because they are yummy and very, very frugal.
Whether you use ACV (apple cider vinegar) or baking soda depends on the type of bean. Black beans and kidney-shaped beans get ACV, and all others get baking soda. I often go ahead and use baking soda for all of them, though (oops). I also usually sub raw red wine vinegar for ACV when I do it properly because I don’t like and don’t have ACV on hand. Any raw vinegar would do.
You will need:
- Desired amount of dry beans
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda or apple cider vinegar per cup of beans
- Filtered water to cover
Gather all your supplies. Pour your beans into a bowl (no more than 1/2 full). Add your baking soda (or ACV) on top.
Fill your bowl with water to cover the beans by at least 1″. My bowl was way too full of beans, because I was impatient and not very smart. Don’t do that. The beans will absorb a lot so check them after a few hours and add more water if needed.
Let your beans sit about 18 hours. Longer is good too, but drain the water, rinse the beans, and add new water if you’re planning to let them sit really long.
With some beans you could drain them after soaking and not refill the water and let them sprout! I haven’t done this yet. It might be cool.
Once they’re soaked, drain them and rinse them.
Add them to a large pot and cover them with fresh (filtered) water by at least 1″. Turn your pot on medium high and simmer for 1 – 2 hours, until beans are soft. Salt after cooking. (They don’t soften very well if you add salt at the beginning.)
That’s it! Now you can add them to anything you want. Or, you can cool them, put them in bags, and freeze them for later. It’s super easy to make last-minute chili if you have pre-soaked, pre-cooked beans in the freezer.
If you’re looking for indepth information, you should check out Katie’s The Everything Beans Book! And tomorrow I’ll be giving away a copy to one lucky reader. You can buy it now though, if you’re impatient to get started on some lovely bean recipes!