Soaking. Again…ZZZzzzzz…….

To soak or not to soak is up there with Mac or PC and Republican or Democrat. On some level, who cares? And yet these conversations stir a lot of souls.

Here's a common inquiry:  "I have a question. If I soak my
beans, but then cannot use them right away, what are my options for storing them
and for how long?  Do I need to cook them before storing?  Can they be
refrigerated, freezed or put in the pantry?

I"ve never had this happen so I don't ever know what to say! I only soak when I know I can cook and if I haven't soaked, I just start cooking them. Do you have any advice for our soaking friend?

10 Comments on Soaking. Again…ZZZzzzzz…….

  1. If I soak, which I rarely do, it means I have committed to cooking them before refrigerating or freezing. Same as Señor Sando.

  2. I have soaked and then frozen if I can’t cook ’em. Truthfully, they’re just not as good.

  3. Hey, I’ve soaked mine for days knowing that a little fermentation doesn’t hurt them.

  4. Once you soak, you run the risk of sprouting, even with refrigeration.

    As far as I know, unless you are planning on making bean beer, this isn’t a good thing.

    Hey wait, why hasn’t anyone ever made bean beer?

  5. It depends on how long they’ll be soaking. More than a day, and the seed coats will crack and the radicle (the incipient root) will separate from the bean’s “meat” and alter the texture of the beans.

    If you don’t have time to cook them completely, boil them for 10-15 minutes or so for a quick kill, then refrigerate. This will prevent sprouting and fermentation. And, when it’s time to finish cooking, they won’t take as long. There will be very little degradation in quality and texture using this method.

  6. I’ve soaked, then decided to do something else, drained all of the water, gone away for a few hours (or up to a day, I think) and then cooked them as usual. They came out great.

  7. Thanks for the help everyone. I soak the beans from morning until dinner time, then at dinner time, plans for the meal sometimes change. I was never quite sure what my options were. I appreciate the insight.

  8. Yes you can freeze them! Mark Bittman with the NYTimes has lots of great advice for rehydrating and cooking with beans and even says: “I’m tempted to say that you should never cook beans or grains without making more than you need. Freezing them (covered with water or cooking liquid, leaving room for expansion) works that well, and saves loads of time.”

    I’ve done this several times and they reheat wonderfully.

  9. I do whatever the instructions say, in the book, “Easy Beans”. I love this little book. It made preparing and cooking beans simple and fast. It was recommended by some bean growers association (I don’t recall which one).

  10. If I end up not being able to make the beans after soaking, I just change the water and let them soak some more. Sprouting doesn’t hurt them, in fact it makes them more nutritious, so it doesn’t bother me if that happens.

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