Cooking Tips and Questions - My beans are hard!

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02-06-2012, 03:34 PM
Help! It's my first time cooking with dried beans, but I wanted to try them because canned beans have so much sodium. I soaked my beans overnight, like the directions said. (heck, actually all day and then overnight) This morning I put together chili in the crock pot. It's been cooking on high for 4 hours now, and my beans are still hard! What did I do wrong? Can I fix this in time for dinner 6 hours from now? Thanks!

02-06-2012, 03:58 PM
Did you add enough liquid to the crock pot? What temp are you cooking at and what else is in the pot with the beans?

I've cooked with dried beans before, but I normally boil them after they soak.

02-06-2012, 03:59 PM
Hate to tell you this but you should have cooked the beans separately in water this morning before making the chili. When you use canned beans, they are already cooked. Not sure if you can fix this in time for dinner though.

Sorry. Maybe somebody else has a solution.

02-06-2012, 04:14 PM
Crockpots vary but you do have to make sure you do have enough water. You might have to continue to cook on high for a few more hours but again make sure there is enough water.

Also, if the beans are old then it may take longer. I usually buy mine at a natural foods store that makes sure their beans are fairly new.

02-06-2012, 04:32 PM
I just cook mine on top of the stove and they would have been done by now. How much water did you add to the pot? If I cook a one pound pack of beans I use 8 cups of water.

02-06-2012, 04:33 PM
I agree with Ruthxxx. You should've cooked them before adding them to the crock pot. I usually do exactly what you did, with the soaking all day and night. Then once Im done with that I drain them in a strainer, rinse em off, then put em back in a pot filled with water and cook them till their done (about an hour).

Now you know what you did so next time I'm sure things will come out better. :hug:

02-06-2012, 04:44 PM
The chili is in the crockpot, and it's on high, so it's boiling. There's plenty of liquid in there, and i can keep an eye on it and add more if needed. It's 4 hours til dinner, surely if it boils the whole time, the beans will be cooked by then?

Thanks for the suggestions. Next time I'll remember to boil the beans AFTER soaking them, and BEFORE adding them to the chili!

02-06-2012, 04:55 PM
I would not leave them at a hard boil, if they have been in the Crock Pot severeal hours they should be able to finish cooking on a lower setting, I do mine on top of the stove and let them simmer or cook very slowly.Do not keep taking the cover off to check them as you will be losing heat and lenthenging the cooking time. Leave the cover on and be prepared to scramble eggs if it is not done in time.

02-06-2012, 04:59 PM
I have, on occasion, gotten a batch of beans that just wouldn't soften. Not often, but every now and then. If your beans puffed up while soaking, they should have cooked fairly well and within a couple of hours, even on a low simmer. If not, maybe you got a bad batch.

I didn't used to soak my beans over night, and they still cooked - they did take all day, though.

Another thing I've done is to rinse them and put them in the pot of water bring to a boil and let them soak for a couple of hours. (For when I wasn't thinking a day ahead).

Regardless, give it a try again. The results are worth it.

02-06-2012, 05:07 PM
a) I agree with Italiannie - sometimes (if they are too old :) ) they do not soften easily.
b) when you cook beans, lentils, chickpeas etc and you need to add water, always use warm to hot and never cold.
c) some people add a teaspoon of baking soda when they soak them.

02-07-2012, 12:08 AM
Yes, baking soda in the soaking liquid helps - especially if you have hard water.

I like to make baked beans in the crock pot from dried beans. Sometimes they work fine with just soaking, and sometimes they take 12-14 hours on low to soften! Sometimes you just get harder beans. To be safe, I would give the beans a little boil before putting them in the crock pot. Unless you like eating dinner at 9pm. :D

02-07-2012, 09:06 AM
How did the beans turn out ?

02-07-2012, 09:09 AM
I was wondering that too. I could go for a bowl of chili for breakfast. :lol:

02-07-2012, 09:15 AM
One thing is very important. DO NOT SALT!! Beans can only be seasoned after they are soft. If you add salt to cook them the skin will turn hard. You need to cook them until soft first then add your seasoning, salt or whatever.

02-07-2012, 09:40 AM
Now you know... cook the beans NAKED and FIRST.

Both salt and tomato can make beans stay hard.

I hope you managed ok. Hang in there with learning to cook from dry -- it is worth it!

02-07-2012, 11:06 AM
The chili actually turned out to be pretty good - I was suprised. They were only a little bit more chewy than if I'd used canned. I think the leftovers will be fine. Thanks so much for all the tips and help - I won't give up on dried beans, and next time I will be successful! Thanks also to whoever said not to salt them before you boil them. I would have never known that!

02-07-2012, 12:21 PM
I do have to say that every time I read the heading "my beans are hard" it makes me chuckle. Sounds like the title of a bad country western song (or something else).