Who doesn’t love a quick meal? Quick meals can be extremely flavorful and they do not require hours of preparation and hovering over the stove. While most ingredients can easily be cooked in 30 minutes or less, beans, on the other hand, are often not so kind to the tired cook.
Don’t get us wrong, beans can be extremely tasty and are very versatile, fitting in to a variety of dishes and salads. They also provide great nutritional value and are a great meat substitute in vegetarian meals. The only thing off-putting about beans is the time needed to prepare and cook them. Many resort to canned beans; but what if canned beans are not an option for you?
The good news is that there is a way to prepare and cook beans quickly while maintaining their flavor and nutritional value. A quick-soaking bean in a pressure cooker is the answer to your bean cooking problems. Read on to uncover this time-saving hack.
Other Methods of Cooking Beans
- The Long Soak
Probably the most common method of preparing beans, the long soak method involves soaking beans in hot water overnight to expand and soften them. The germination process begins during this long soak, releasing enzymes that soften the beans. It’s an easy method, except that if you don’t remember to soak the beans the night before, chances are you are not going to have beans the next day.
- The No-Soak
This method works best for smaller beans and legumes that actually do not require any soaking whatsoever. Simply put them in a pot over the stove and boil them for hours on end until they are cooked.
Quick-Soaking Beans in a Pressure Cooker: How to
It is important to note that soaking beans is always a good idea, even if it’s only for a few hours. Indigestible sugars are broken down during the soaking/germination process, which means less gas and less embarrassing moments for you. That said, the pressure cooker is your best friend, allowing you to kill two birds with one stone: soaking and cooking your beans in a fraction of the time. Ok, let’s get to it.
- Clean the Beans
Sort the beans by picking out any non-bean items such as dirt, debris, pebbles or even discolored beans. There is nothing worse than biting into a pebble when eating beans. Next, place the beans in a colander, giving them a rinse under running water. Swish them around, picking out any other debris you might have missed and let the water do the rest.
- Bring out the Pressure Cooker
Place the beans in your pressure cooker and cover them with water. Use a ratio of 1:4. That is, for every cup of beans, add four cups of water. Tip: In order to keep the skins intact, add a teaspoon of salt for every 4 cups of water.
- Cover/Don’t Cover and Boil
Cover the beans with the lid of the pressure cooker, making sure to lock it in place. Alternatively, you can bring the beans to a boil before placing the lid. Either way, once you have covered the beans, cook them over high heat and at high pressure.
- Reduce Heat
Reduce the heat but maintain the pressure and leave to beans to cook for 2 minutes. This applies to both electric pressure cookers as well as stove-top pressure cookers.
- Release the Pressure
To do this, you can either use the cold water method which involves taking your pressure cooker (and its contents) to the sink, running cold water over the lid and taking care to not run cold water over the valve.
Alternatively, you can use the slow release method which involves literally opening the valve slowly. There is a chance that foam may escape valve; if this happens, let the foam fall back into the cooking liquid by waiting 30 seconds before opening the valve again.
- Drain the Beans
Drain the cooking liquid from the beans and run the beans under cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Get Cooking!
Follow your favorite pre-soaked beans recipe as usual.
Quick-soaking beans is super easy, right?
Tips for Using a Pressure Cooker Safely
If you have heard horror stories about exploding pressure cookers, you are not alone. Pressure cookers can be intimidating and downright scary to use. But without them cooking would be a long and arduous process. Plus, you wouldn’t be able to benefit from quick soaking beans in a pressure cooker. We can’t let that happen, so here are a few tips to remember for safe use of your pressure cooker.
- Check the Pressure Cooker
Every pressure cooker lid has a ring of rubber that lines it, also known as the rubber gasket. This rubber lining should not be dry, cracked or damaged in any way. To be on the safe side, have it replaced every year. Also ensure that the pressure cooker is extremely clean.
- Do Not Fill the Cooker
The pressure cooker should be filled up to two thirds of the way and no more. Since beans foam up, the cooker should only be filled half way.
- Check the Liquid
In order to cook the food, the pressure cooker requires sufficient liquid. If your recipe does not state how much, you should use at least ½ a cup of liquid and slowly increase that until required pressure is reached.
- Pressure Release Methods
There is natural release – leaving the pot to sit until the pressure goes down on its own. Quick release involves quickly opening the valve to release the steam.
Cold water release and slow release as explained above. Whichever method you use, ensure that your face, hands and body do not face the steam vent.
Quick-Soaking Beans in a Pressure Cooker: It’s Not Rocket Science
This method of quick-soaking beans is just as easy as leaving the beans to soak in a bowl of water overnight. The only difference is that this method takes approximately 30 minutes. If you enjoy beans and are all for a quick meal (who isn’t), this is the method for you.