Tips for Cooking Beans
Beans are fairly fun to make if you're an adventurous cook who loves a good ingredient that is versatile and has a satisfying payoff. I always recommend making a big batch at the beginning of the week with some neutral herbs and aromatics and then reworking them throughout the week to fit hot or cold dishes.
Assuming you are cooking with dry beans, check for debris. Processing beans can be an intensive and meticulous task at the farm level, so double-checking is to your benefit.
Go low and slow, or soak them! Either way is the right way, and it's just up to you. If you do soak, refresh the water before you boil as this helps to prevent the gaseous effect beans can cause. If you go all in and don't soak, cover the beans with a solid amount of water or stock, bring to a rolling boil and then turn them way down and let them do their thing. Each type of bean will have a different cook time depending on size, varietal, age and other circumstances.
Cook with items that complement, but don't overwhelm. Start your beans knowing you could use them in a variety of dishes, and use basic essentials such as carrots, onions and celery and perhaps some fresh thyme and bay leaves. Add salt and more intense seasonings to final dishes.
Save your pot liquor! Some beans will yield an incredible broth. Use this liquid to store your cooked beans throughout the week to keep them as fresh as possible. If you mix your beans into another dish, a bit of this liquid added as well will make all the difference.
Add your cooked beans to your favorite foods. Favorites like soups and stews of all kinds are always a sure thing, but also try quick dishes like hummus, salads, tacos and, my favorite, a breakfast of white beans on toast.