|There are over 25 different types of dry peas and beans. Included are Pinto, Kidney beans, garbanzos, black beans, navy, lima, lentils, black eyed peas, split peas as well as soy beans and many many more.
One cup of beans, peas or lentils will expand to 2 - 2 1/2 cups cooked.
Beans should be washed thouroughly and the discolored ones removed. Soak overnight using 3 cups water to 1 cup dry beans. Bring beans to a boil using the very water* they have soaked in. Reduce heat and simmer until tender. For most pre-soaked beans the process should take one to 1 1/2 hours. Lentils and split peas will be tender in 20 - 30 minutes.
A quick-soak method for beans ( when you forget to do it over night) is to cover the washed beans with water, bring to a boil and simmer two minutes. Remove from heat, cover and allow to sit for one hour; then cook using the method for soaked beans.
Various spices and herbs can be used to enhance the flavor of beans including onions, tomatoes, sea salt, chilies, cumin, coriander, garlic, cayenne, turmeric, ect. The seasonings should be added during the last hour of cooking. If added too soon the flavour will cook out before the beans arer finished.
* : The exception is in garbanzos and soy beans whose water must be discarded and replaced with fresh water.(spring water is best)
Soy Beans : Soy beans are some of the most versatile beans. They may be used whole, ground into flour, made into soy milk, bean curd (tofu) or sprouted. Green soy beans may be cooked like lima beans. To "shell" them, immerse the pods in boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and cool, squeeze the pods to extract the beans. Cook the fresh beans in boiling water until tender (about 15 minutes).
Dry soy beans contain an enzyme inhibitor that makes them hard to digest. To remove this enzyme inhibitor, dry soy beans should be soaked for 24 hours with a water change every 8 hours, after which the soy beans can be cooked 3 - 4 hours in fresh water. Check them frequently when cooking and use a large pot as they have a tendancy to overboil. Their bland flavour can be improved by seasoning with tomato, cheese, soy sauce, onion, garlic, thyme ect.