Sunday, May 28, 2017

Techniques for softening "hardened" pinto beans.

Poster "Altoidian" at Survivalist Boards gives some real world advice on how he softened nine year old pintos:

"The oldest pinto beans I could find were 9 years old. I kept them exactly as they came from the grocer shelf in a 5 lb plastic bag. They were not in an air tight container and the storage was my unairconditioned garage. We have hot summers but mild winters and our climate is desert - dry most of the year. So, reading some about the "Hard to cook old bean" stories I tested them. I know the probable reason the beans go hard is an internal reaction - rather a kind of "oxidation" within the bean itself. I suspect it has to do with acidification between the proteins and some loss of moisture. 

So, I decided the proper approach was as follows:

I took 12 ounces of the 9 year old beans, and scanned and rinsed them. I boiled 6 cups of water with two table spoons of baking soda and two table spoons of salt. I "heat shocked" the beans dumping them into the scalding water, brought them to a steady simmer in the brine for one hour (covered), took them off the fire and left them to soak over night (about 9 hours). This morning the water was dark red. I drained it and rinsed the beans which had become chewable but certainly needed more cooking - but no "crunch" at all. Instead they had a rather "hard chocolate" texture... Like the inside of an M&M. I then covered the beans in fresh water, brought them to a boil, and then back down to a steady simmer- tossed in two chicken bullion cubes, and three TBSp of dehydrated onion flakes. Covered and simmered for one hour. Result - Absolutely perfect, delicious pinto beans. Texture is, in fact, a bit over soft. I like my beans with a little resistance to the bite. But, these will do very nice with a few ounces of fried salt pork. There is no after-taste, nor bitterness to them and no taste of too much salt or even a hint of baking soda taste. Absolutely NO crunch at all. Cooked really as well as any other beans I've made - and I love beans with cornbread. Also notice, no pressure cooking at all."

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