The Myth of Soaking Beans

I’m about to impart a tip that to some may seem absolutely scandalous.  You ready for it?

You don’t have to soak beans overnight before you cook them. 


I make fresh pinto beans about once a week without soaking.  Here’s how:

1) Fill a pot about 2/3 full of water and put it on the stove.  No- it doesn’t have to be a super cool ceramic pot  like mine to work.  Any ol’ pot will do. 

2) Turn on the heat to medium and add abt 1/4 c (?) shortening to the water.  I never measure ’cause my mom never measured and my grandma never measured, and I’m pretty sure great-grandma didn’t measure either.  Just stick a wooden spoon in to the shortening, take out a blob and add it to your water.  I did run out of shortening once and tried to use oil in its place.  It didn’t work so well.  I may not have used enough – but I’ll just stick to shortening.

3) Sort your beans!  Beans often come with stowaways better known as rocks hanging out with them.  Take the amount of beans you want to cook and sort through them making sure there’s nothing that shouldn’t be there.

4) Rinse those beans under some water.

5) Add the beans to the pot.  Boil. 

6) Every 1/2 hour, check your water and make sure they aren’t boiling dry.  Trust me, there is nothing worse than beans that you forgot on the stove and have boiled dry.  They burn something fierce and the smell…well, it’s around for a while. 

The pintos will boil for about 3 hours or until soft.  I start checking sooner because usually I’m not making more than 1.5 c of dry beans for us.  In about 3 hours you will have yummy pintos for dinner. 

Wanna refry them?  That’s pretty simple too.  And, as a side note, I don’t know why they are called Refried beans.  Refried assumes they’ve been fried before…and there is nothing fried about them – at all.

1) Pour your beans, water and all (I call it Bean Juice) into a skillet over medium heat.   Okay – so you probably won’t need all the water, but do add some.

2) Take out the thing called a potato masher.  Growing up I only saw this used to make refried beans and thought its sole purpose was a bean masher.  Mash those beans!  My grandma used a wooden spoon- I’m not that talented.  However, to those more talented than I, that is an option.

3) Mash, mash, mash and mash some more.  As the beans heat, the excess water will evaporate and your beans will start to reach your desired consistency.  If they get too dry, just add water.

4) Salt!  Add salt and other seasonings to taste.  The salt make all the difference in the world

So in the end – yes, if you really want to soak your beans – more power to you.  But, should you forget to soak your beans the night before (as I know I always would), you can still have fresh beans for dinner that night.  Yum!


This post is linked to Frugal Friday.
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5 thoughts on “The Myth of Soaking Beans

  1. If you do soak ‘em, particularly if you add some whey, yogurt, or raw milk and their accompanying bacterial cultures, the bits of the bean that cause flatulence are supposed to break down more than they would otherwise. I can’t say my experience proves that one way or the other; we’ve not tested it carefully. But that’s what I’m told. If the various dairy products aren’t an option (you mean you don’t have whey sitting on your counter? Really?), lemon juice is a decent alternative, though the bacteria do a better job than the acid in the juice.

  2. I’ve also understood that it helps with the gas problem, but mainly for me, if I don’t soak them, I inevitably let them go dry and burn them when cooking. :)

  3. Pingback: What do I make from scratch? « Our Simple Life

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