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Cooking Dry Beans
Sort: Arrange dried beans on a sheet pan or clean kitchen towel and sort through them to pick out any shriveled or broken beans, stones or debris. (Take my word for it; running your fingers through the beans in the bag doesn't work the same.)
Rinse: Rinse the sorted beans well in cold, running water.
Soak: Soaking beans before cooking helps to remove some of those indigestible sugars that cause flatulence. There are two simple ways to get the job done:
Regular soak: Put beans into a large bowl and cover with 2 to 3 inches of cool, clean water. Set aside at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight; drain well. (If it's really warm in your kitchen, soak the beans in the refrigerator instead to avoid fermentation.)
Quick soak: Put beans into a large pot and cover with 2 to 3 inches of cool, clean water. Bring to a boil then boil briskly for 2 to 3 minutes. Cover and set aside off of the heat for 1 hour; drain well.
Cook: Put beans into a large pot and cover with 2 inches of water or stock. (Don't add salt at this point since that slows the beans' softening.) Slowly bring to a boil, skimming off any foam on the surface. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally and adding more liquid if necessary, until beans are tender when mashed or pierced with a fork. Cooking times vary with the variety, age and size of beans; generally you're looking at about 1 to 2 hours.