Before cooking U.S. Pulses, it is best to soak most for 4 to 18 hours. We recommend one of three methods:
1. Cold Soaking
2. Hot Soaking
3. Pressure Soaking
1. “Cold Soaking” or “Traditional Soak”
Cover the U.S. Pulses with room-temperature water and allow to soak overnight.
Use this ratio: 3 parts water for 1 part U.S. Pulses.
Ensure the water is room temperature, as hot water may cause the beans to become sour.
Cold water slows rehydration and the beans will take longer to cook.
Discard the original water after soaking.
2. “Hot Soak” or “Quick Soak”
This method is the faster method if you forgot to soak the U.S. Pulses or you are otherwise in a hurry. This is the most convenient method for most chefs.
For this method, cover the beans with water and boil for two minutes. Then cover pot and soak for one to two hours.
Discard the original water, wash the U.S. Pulses, and replace with fresh water before cooking.
3. Pressure Soaking
This method is the “express” method if you are in a rush to prepare U.S. Pulses.
With this method cover the U.S. Pulses with 7 cm of water. Raise the pressure and cook for 5minutes. Then remove the pot from the heat and let the pressure drop naturally.
Discard the water, wash the U.S. Pulses, and prepare your recipe.
After soaking U.S. Pulses discard the original soak water and replace with fresh water before cooking.
Why Do I Have to Soak Pulses?
- Pre-soaking helps U.S. Pulses to cook more evenly and become completely tender all the way through.
- Soaking of U.S. Pulses also reduces some cooking time and preserve more nutrients. (Cooking time for un-soaked U.S. Pulses can vary up to 2 hours.)
- A long soaking time also helps more of the natural sugar to dissolve, making the U.S. Pulses easier to digest.
However, you do not need to soak all U.S. Pulses.
Chefs can prepare softer categories of U.S. Split Peas and U.S. Lentils without soaking them.
It is important to note is that the hardest beans, such as Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas), need up to 12 hours to rehydrate.
● U.S. Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans): 8-12 hours
● U.S. Whole Pinto Beans: 4-8 hours
● U.S Whole Green Peas: 4-8 hours
● U.S. Yellow Split Peas: not required
● U.S. Split Red Lentils: not required
● U.S. Whole Green Lentils: not required but recommended
● U.S. Black Beans: 4-8 hours
● U.S. Navy Beans: 4-8 hours
● U.S. Kidney Beans: 4-8 hours
● U.S. Black Eyed Beans: 4-8 hours
● U.S. Lima Beans: 4-8 hours
● U.S. Cranberry Beans (Borlotti): 4-8 hours
Soak and cook different kinds of pulses separately!
Many factorsinfluence cooking times and this list is only a guideline:
● U.S Whole Green Peas: 1 to 1 ½ hours or 30-60 min soaked
● U.S. Yellow Split Peas: 1 to 2 hours or 30-40 min soaked
● U.S. Split Red Lentils: 10 min
● U.S. Whole Green Lentils: 10-13 min
● U.S. Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans): 2 to 3 hours
● U.S. Whole Pinto Beans: 1 to 3 hours
● U.S. Black Beans: 1 ½ hours
● U.S. Navy Beans: 1 ½ hours
● U.S. Kidney Beans: 1 ½ hours
● U.S. Pink Beans: 1 hour
● U.S. Lima Beans: 1 hour
● U.S. Black Eyed Beans: ¾ hour
● U.S. Cranberry Beans (Borlotti): ¾ hour
Cooking times for these are difficult to predict. The age, size, and variety of the individual bean or pea and heat source can all affect cooking time.
Another crucial factor is the hardness of the water. If you have “hard” water with, calcium interferes with the chemical and physical changes that are supposed to occur in beans during soaking and cooking.
What Not to Add When Cooking U.S. Pulses?
There are certain ingredients that we should not add before and during cooking as they will affect the cooking time and tenderness of cooked U.S. Pulses.
Molasses is high in calcium so only add it once the U.S. Pulses are fully cooked.
Salt will toughen U.S. Pulses during the cooking process, so only add it when the beans are almost tender.
Also, do not add salt to the water when soaking!
Other Critical Ingredients:
Add acidic ingredients such as pickled condiments, tomato-based products like ketchup, tomato paste, and wine after cooking the U.S. Pulses. The same goes for citrus fruits, their juices, and vinegar as these acid-rich ingredients can prevent U.S. Pulses from becoming tender.
Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate)?
Some old and new recipes for U.S. Pulses suggest adding baking soda for its benefits like eliminating gas, retaining color, speeding cooking, and softening.
However, baking soda destroys the U.S. Pulses’ B vitamin thiamin and makes the amino acids less digestible. It may also affect the beans’ flavor.
As you cook U.S. Pulses, they accumulate a foam on top of the water. This is NOT dirt, but rather proteins. Some U.S. Pulses have more, others less. Simply skim it from the top and discard.
You can add some oil, butter, lard, or bacon drippings when cooking U.S. Pulses to reduce foaming during the cooking process.
U.S. Pulses are Easy to Store
You can make many meals from U.S. Pulses in 30 minutes or less if you take some time to prepare ahead. We suggest the following methods:
- Home-canned U.S. Pulses using a pressure canner.
- Cooked U.S. Pulses stored in refrigerator up to 1 week or well packed in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Commercially-canned U.S. Pulses.