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#1
Old 02-09-2012, 04:19 AM
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Will my old dried beans ever soften?

I'm making some black bean soup. Now these beans are old. Real old. I mean these beans are so old that they may be the progenitor of all beans and no longer exist in the real world outside of my crockpot.

Now I've read that you should soak the beans with some baking soda because somehow an alkaline environment will soften old beans. This is too late. Many message boards say that old beans will NEVER soften. I find this hard to believe. I've got all the time in the world. If I cook the beans for say 2 days, will they soften?

If they do soften, will there actually be any nutrition left in them, or will 48 hours of near boiling temperature reduce them to fundamental molecules without nutritional value?
#2
Old 02-09-2012, 06:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Lict View Post
I'm making some black bean soup. Now these beans are old. Real old. I mean these beans are so old that they may be the progenitor of all beans and no longer exist in the real world outside of my crockpot.

Now I've read that you should soak the beans with some baking soda because somehow an alkaline environment will soften old beans. This is too late. Many message boards say that old beans will NEVER soften. I find this hard to believe. I've got all the time in the world. If I cook the beans for say 2 days, will they soften?

If they do soften, will there actually be any nutrition left in them, or will 48 hours of near boiling temperature reduce them to fundamental molecules without nutritional value?
I am not sure about your beans,but they should be soaked over night,they may not be quite soft. But I would cook them slowly in a crock pot (so you don't have to worry about them burning, It may take a day or so. As to the nutrition You may check with a nutritionist as to the food value,at the least you should get some fiber.
#3
Old 02-09-2012, 08:09 AM
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Yeah, I already soaked them overnight before I started cooking them. They've already been cooking for 7 hours or so.
#4
Old 02-09-2012, 08:48 AM
The Turtle Moves!
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They will probably never soften. Very old beans seldom do, in my experience. Throw them out and buy some fresh beans for your soup.
#5
Old 02-09-2012, 10:08 AM
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Back in my vegetarian days I ate a lot of beans, and kept a large stock of dried beans. My experience was that some beans never soften up, (even after pressure cooking or hours and hours of simmering) and some of the dried beans you buy are already ancient.

My best discovery was the stock at a local Lebanese store, and the information from them that not all dried beans are the same.

Now that I am a meat eater again, I eat beans much less, but whenever I do I always really enjoy them and tell myself I should eat them more.
#6
Old 02-09-2012, 02:42 PM
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In as much as I suspect that you are all correct and numerous message boards draw the same conclusions, I'm going to test this out and boil these fuckers for a really long time. I'm eating some of the weird bean gruel right now, and well, the skins are pretty tough, but it is edible. I mean I were starving to death, and this was the last bit of food left on earth, I would certainly eat it. I doubt the electricity in the crock pot is costing me much, so in the interest of science, I'll let the experiment continue. Hell, I've got so much time, I can probably go out and buy a stick blender to mash the beans up a bit.

I'm still wondering if there is any nutritional value in it at this point (14 hours of simmering).
#7
Old 02-09-2012, 03:18 PM
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I thought this was a thread about something else entirely. Pardon the interruption.
#8
Old 02-09-2012, 03:37 PM
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In my experience, they never get soft. The longest I've gone is about a total of 12 hours over two days, and it didn't seem to make a lick of difference.
#9
Old 02-09-2012, 04:26 PM
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Well, I let them cook for about 15 hours. The beans did soften quite a bit, but the skins were kind of tough. I went ahead and ran the stuff through a blender. The soup is actually pretty good. So although I never fully completed the experiment, the soup was still salvageable in my opinion. I suppose it's a different matter if you want whole beans, but my favorite black bean soup at a local restaurant is blended.

This experiment may never be repeated by myself, as I doubt I will ever have beans this old again. I remember trying to make some chili when the beans were "only" about two years old and yeah, that turned out real crappy.
#10
Old 02-10-2012, 04:52 PM
VOW VOW is offline
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When using beans that were entombed in the Pyramids with the ancient Pharoahs, a couple of things to keep in mind:

Always presoak. Don't add anything except KOMBU to the soaking water.

Do not use any tomato products when cooking the beans. Wait until (or if ever!) they soften before adding tomato stuff.

Canning the beans is another way to soften them. Prepare as per canner instructions, place in hot jars with new lids, and can in a pressure canner for the appropriate amount of time for your elevation.

Freezing is another option. Cook your beans, then package and freeze.

The last two methods often produce beans which are "too mushy" for some folks. Therefore, the hard as rock beans should succumb to the extremes, and give you an edible product.

Note: KOMBU is dried seaweed, found in Asian markets or health food stores. A three-inch piece added to the soaking water can aid in (ahem!) digesting the beans. After soaking, drain off the water, and retain the KOMBU with the other cooking ingredients. It will disintegrate while the beans cook, and it makes no discernable difference in the end product.

Black beans can also benefit from the addition of the Mexican herb, EPAZOTE. That will provide some seasoning, and also help the (ahem!) "digestion" of the beans.


~VOW
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