Is Soaking Dried Beans Overnight Really Necessary
Beans are one of the most versatile, tastiest, and healthiest foods anyone can eat. They’re inexpensive, lightweight, and have an extremely long shelf life, so it’s easy to buy them in bulk and always have them on hand.
Why do dried beans need to be soaked
There are several practical reasons why soaking beans for a minimum of 8 hours is so common. First, letting your beans sit in a bowl of cold water in the refrigerator dramatically cuts down on how long they will need to cook the next day. It also helps improve their texture while cutting down on the number that split or burst during cooking.
Another reason why people soak dried beans is that it helps remove some of the complex sugars that the body is unable to digest. That is what causes people to feel gassy or bloated after eating them.
Lastly, beans get dirty. During their long journey from harvest to your kitchen pantry, they absorb numerous chemicals while growing and touch many hands and surfaces once picked. Letting dried beans soak in water helps release some of the dirt and chemicals, and rinsing them further cleans them.
Does soaking beans really decrease cooking time
The reason why soaking beans helps speed cooking times along is that the dried beans absorb whatever water they can during the initial immersion. When the seed coat (or skin) is saturated, the water then can surface and cook the inside of the bean.
Do beans become less nutritious when soaked
Some people choose not to soak their dried beans because they want to keep all of their nutrients. Some research shows that soaking beans in water can cause them to lose large amounts of water-soluble antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients. Consider slow cooking your beans to avoid this from happening.
Different ways to soak and rinse dried beans
You can still have tender, creamy beans without soaking them overnight. There are several different ways to do this, but the result will be the same.
Brine your Beans
No matter how you decide to prepare your beans before cooking them, one trick that is sure to be a hit is brining them in salt water. Whether you do a full overnight soak, a quick-soak, or decide to boil them, using salt water creates more tender skins.
The sodium ions from the salt replace calcium and magnesium ions in the bean coats. Since sodium ions are “weaker” than the ones they are replacing, it is easier for the beans to absorb more water. The sodium remains in the coat, not the interior, so they don’t end up becoming overly salty.
The Quick Soak
The quick soak method works best when you are in a hurry or have forgotten to soak them overnight. Add six cups of water for every two cups of beans in a large pot. Boil for two to three minutes, then remove them from the heat, cover, and let stand for an hour. Drain and rinse them with fresh water.
There is the hot soak, which is the recommended method from the Bean Institute. Like the quick-soak method, start by placing your beans in a pot. Add 10 cups of water for every 2 cups of beans. Boil the beans and water for two to three minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Then, cover, and let stand for as little as four hours or as much as a day. Then, drain and rinse the beans with cool water.
So, what’s the answer
The answer is that no, dried beans do not necessarily need soaking overnight. It comes down to personal preference and how much time you have. As long as they are cleaned well before they are cooked, there is no reason why you can’t enjoy beans at a moment’s notice.