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Beans, Beans...

by John Ryan

 
beans

A couple years ago I was killing some time in a bookstore and found myself looking over an interesting recipe. In the notes I found an ultimatum about basic bean cookery. I forget exactly what it was, I just remember that it conflicted with a strict injunction I'd read a few days earlier. Maybe I was getting hungry or tired, but this irritated me way beyond reasonable bounds, so I decided to find out for myself if beans really needed to be soaked or not, if quick-soaking was effective, how salt and acid affected beans, and anything else I could think of.

A couple years ago I was killing some time in a bookstore and found myself looking over an interesting recipe. In the notes I found an ultimatum about basic bean cookery. I forget exactly what it was, I just remember that it conflicted with a strict injunction I'd read a few days earlier. Maybe I was getting hungry or tired, but this irritated me way beyond reasonable bounds, so I decided to find out for myself if beans really needed to be soaked or not, if quick-soaking was effective, how salt and acid affected beans, and anything else I could think of.

Over the following month I was systematic, keeping a sort of lab notebook and everything. Before it was all over, I went through 40 pounds of beans. I'm going to spare you the blow by blow and cut to the chase. Here is the essence, the perfume as it were, of my labors:

Cook beans as gently as possible in ample water. They taste a little better if the water is lightly salted.

There, that's it. Beans are as simple as that. In fact, you can stop right here if you want. Below are just my notes on a few of the issues surrounding beans.

 
All About Beans

Recipes

 

John Ryan

Both chef and musician, John Ryan wrote the Just Good Food blog from 1996 through 2001.

Just Good Food Archive


This page created 1997. Modified August 2007.


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