Unlike canned beans, you need to soak dried beans before cooking. But, how to store soak beans?
Beans are one of the most commonly eaten, versatile, and economical foods in the world. Beans also have long-term health benefits to those who consume them regularly.
There are many varieties of beans grown in the United States. Some of the most popular varieties include:
- Kidney beans
- Red beans
- Black beans
- Lima beans
- Navy beans
- Garbanzos beans
- Black-eyed beans
- Pinto beans
Beans are seeds coming from the Fabaceae family (peas, legumes, or bean family). They are affordable and great sources of fiber, protein, vitamins, and iron.
Frozen and canned beans are ready to eat after warming them on the stove. Dried beans need to be soaked before cooking to make them tender.
Why do you need to Soak Beans?
Soaking is not an important step in preparing beans. Beans are, however, soaked before cooking to begin rehydration. Rehydration reduces cooking time. Beans that are not soaked before cooking take longer to cook. They require more attention, too, to keep them from getting dry.
Soaked beans increase to up to twice their size. You should use enough water to soak the beans. They should be covered, too. Once the beans have been rehydrated, they will cook for 1 to 3 hours, depending on the variety of beans.
Beans can be soaked through:
1. Quick soaking
This is a convenient method of soaking beans because it only takes about an hour. To do quick soaking, boil the beans for about 2 minutes. After boiling, allow the beans and soak water to stand for about an hour. Make sure to cover the pot. After an hour, throw away the soak water and cook your beans.
This method requires some planning and takes time, but is easy to do with minimal effort. You just need to place the beans at room temperature, cover them and soak in room temperature water for about 8-10 hours.
Do not use hot water as it will make the beans soar. Coldwater, on the other hand, will slow down rehydration making the beans longer to cook.
Beans that are soaked for over 12 hours absorb too much water and will lose their flavor and texture.
Both soaking processes work well. They differ only in the amount of time it takes to rehydrate the beans. After soaking the beans, cook in a simmer until they are tender to prevent the their skins from breaking.
To cook unsoaked beans, rinse beans and bring to a boil. Simmer the beans for up to 2 to 3 hours depending on the variety. The beans will rehydrate during the cooking process.
Cooking unsoaked beans not only takes longer, but it also consumes a lot of gas or electricity. Cooking unsoaked beans on the stovetop for up to 3 hours can cost a lot of money.
How to Store Soak Beans
You do not have to soak beans each time you feel like cooking them. You can soak uncooked beans for multiple recipes in one go and store them. There are two ways on how to store soak beans : with or without water soaking water.
Many cooks prefer to store beans without the soaking water because they say, the beans last longer in storage. If you soaked beans using the quick soaking method, make sure to bring the beans to room temperature before storing them.
Method 1: Storing beans without soaking water
You can store beans without soaking water.
- Remove beans from their soaking water.
- Allow the beans to dry thoroughly.
- Once dry, place the beans in an airtight container.
- Store the beans in the fridge.
Storing your beans in the fridge without its soaking water will last for about 4-5 days. You can freeze the beans so they can last longer. You can also opt to line the bottom of your airtight container with a paper towel so it can absorb any excess water.
Allowing the beans to dry before storing them in the fridge will prevent them from getting mushy, thus they will last longer.
You can also cook all your soaked beans in one go before storing them in the fridge. Many cooks prefer to do this instead of cooking the beans in batches or each time they are needed for a dish.
Method 2: Storing beans with soaking water
You can also opt to store your soaked beans in the fridge with the soaking water. Remember though, to change the water every 12 hours to stop anything annoying from building up in the water.
The beans with soaking water will also be fine on the kitchen counter for less than 24 hours. Over 24 hours, the beans will start to sprout or ferment because of the warm temperature.
Storing beans in the fridge with soaking water will start to ferment after 3 – 4 days, Cold temperatures, such as that in the fridge, slows down the fermentation process of beans.
It is a good idea to add some vinegar to the soaking water to prevent microbes from getting into your beans. Fermented beans are safe to eat but they do not look appealing.
Discard the soaking water before adding the beans to your recipe.
Tips on How to Store Soaked Beans
Storing soaked beans in the fridge can make them last for up to 5 days. Storing soaked beans in the freezer can make it last up to 3 months. If you opt to freeze beans with soaking water, defrosting can take a longer time.
Here are some tips on how to prevent your soaked beans from freezer burn:
- Store soaked beans in a freezer bag. Make sure to squeeze out all the air inside.
- Store soaked beans in an airtight container. Cover the beans with a layer of plastic wrap before placing the cover of the container.
Do Soaked Beans get Spoiled?
Illness-causing bacteria can grow on your soaked beans while in storage. They will typically become slimy and smell bad. Your soaked beans can also sprout or ferment. While fermented beans can still be safely consumed, they may taste different.
If you are not sure if your stored beans have turned bad, rinse and smell them. If they smell awful, it is probably best to throw them away.
It can be difficult to distinguish the smell between fermented beans and soaked beans that has gone bad. The best sign of fermenting beans is foaming. If the soaking water of your beans is foaming, it means they are fermenting.
Sprouting beans do not smell bad, it just looks like something is growing on them. Some Asian dishes use sprouted beans. Sprouted beans are even more digestible.
Beans are healthy and nutritious. They are tasty and flavorful, too. Beans, though need to be soaked in water before cooking to lessen the actual cooking time of your recipe. Cooking unsoaked beans can take a lot of time.
Depending on your preference, how to store soak beans can be done with the soaking water or without the soaking. Each has its pros and cons.
Have you tried storing soaked beans in the fridge or freezer? Did you store them with or without water? Share some of your thoughts in the comment section.