Cooking Beans and Grains
Consider the charts a general guide. Some varieties of grains require a few minutes more or less than noted here. For example, sometimes millet will cook in 15 minutes. Another variety of millet may require 20 or even 25 minutes to cook through.
Beans, too, will often appear to have a mind of their own and will defy any attempt put them on a time clock. The time variations, however, will only be a matter of a few minutes.
You can cook in water or vegetable stock, but remember to watch the salt of prepared vegetable stock. Always dilute pre-made vegetable stock, and when you do add salt to a recipe, always measure! It’s easy to add too much salt, and you can’t take it out once you’ve added it.
Salt also slows down the cooking for legumes and beans. Add it at the end, after the beans are tender. I prefer to cook all my grains, beans and legumes in plain water.
If you’re making soup, you really don’t need this chart. Just toss the grain, vegetables and liquid in a big pot and simmer away until done. I generally start with 1 cup of grain and 4 cups of liquid for soup, and sometimes I have to add more liquid during cooking if my pot is extra full of fresh chopped veggies. You can also combine grains for soup, Check the chart to see which grains take longer.
If you’re mixing wild rice and brown rice, for example, you’ll want to give the wild rice a head start of about 20 minutes—but remember, it’s soup, so you don’t have to be exact. Enjoy!
|BEAN (1 cup dry)||
|Adzuki (Aduki)||4||45 - 55 min.||3|
|Anasazi||2 1/2 - 3||45 - 55 min.||2 1/4|
|Black Beans||4||1 hr. - 1 1/2 hrs.||2 1/4|
|Black-eyed Peas||3||1 hr.||2|
|Cannellini (White Kidney Beans)||3||45 min.||2 1/2|
|Cranberry Bean||3||40 - 45 min.||3|
|Fava Beans, skins removed||3||40 - 50 min.||1 2/3|
|Garbanzos (Chick Peas)||4||1 - 3 hrs.||2|
|Great Northern Beans||3 1/2||1 1/2 hrs.||2 2/3|
|Green Split Peas||4||45 min.||2|
|Yellow Split Peas||4||1 - 1 1/2 hrs.||2|
|Green Peas, whole||6||1 - 2 hrs.||2|
|Kidney Beans||3||1 hr.||2 1/4|
|Lentils, brown||2 1/4||45 min. - 1 hr.||2 1/4|
|Lentils, green||2||30-45 min.||2|
|Lentils, red||3||20 - 30 min.||2-2 1/2|
|Lima Beans, large||4||45 - 1 hr.||2|
|Lima Beans, small||4||50 - 60 min.||3|
|Lima Beans, Christmas||4||1 hr.||2|
|Mung Beans||2 1/2||1 hr.||2|
|Navy Beans||3||45-60 min.||2 2/3|
|Pink Beans||3||50 - 60 min.||2 3/4|
|Pinto Beans||3||1 - 1/2 hrs.||2 2/3|
|Soybeans||4||3 - 4 hrs||3|
Begin by washing beans and discarding any which are discolored or badly formed. Check for debris in the package such as small rocks or twigs and discard them. Beans cook more quickly and their digestibility benefits with soaking in water to cover by about 3" for 8 hours or overnight. Discard the soak water and cook the beans in fresh water.
Salt and seasonings added during the cooking tends to make beans cook more slowly. Since beans require lengthy cooking, you should plan on adding seasonings during the last few minutes. The beans will absorb flavor quite readily.
There are other factors which contribute to the length of cooking, such as hard water and beans that have been dried for a long period of time. For some of the longer cooking beans I have found that soaking 24 hours and changing the soak water 2 or 3 times hastens the cooking time.
Many people are concerned with the reputation that beans have for causing flatulence. Starting your bean ventures with small amounts helps to increase your body's enzyme production gradually. Soaking and cooking the beans thoroughly helps to break down the complex sugars (oligosaccharides) which challenge our digestive systems.
When time is limited, you can wash and pick over beans and put them into a stock pot with water to cover by 3". Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes to remove toxins. Then cover and allow to soak for 1 hour. Discard soak water, add fresh water, and cook until tender.
As a general rule of thumb, 1 cup of dried beans will yield about 2 1/2 - 3 cups of cooked beans.
Best way to cook beans: A pressure cooker! Bean dishes are rich, filling, and packed with nutrition. If you find you’re eating a lot of beans—I hope that happens—you may want to invest in a pressure cooker to speed things up. And be sure to stock up on cooked, canned beans of all varieties for your “emergency” meals:
“I’m hungry! I’m tired! There’s nothing made so I’ll just eat chips! But wait….Is that a can of beans, a carrot, ½ bunch of Swiss chard and a piece of onion? Is that a can of organic tomato sauce back there? Fatty, salty, stale chips: Into the garbage with you. My emergency meal of bean and vegetable stew will be ready in 10 minutes flat!”
|GRAIN (1 cup dry)||CUPS
|Amaranth||2 1/2||20 - 25 min.||2 1/2|
|Barley, pearled||3||50 - 60 min.||3 1/2|
|Barley, hulled||3||1 hr. 15 min.||3 1/2|
|Barley, flakes||2||30 - 40 min.||2 1/2|
|Buckwheat groats||2||15 min..||2 1/2|
|Cornmeal (fine grind)||4 - 4 1/2||8 - 10 min.||2 1/2|
|Cornmeal (polenta, coarse)||4 - 4 1/2||20 - 25 min.||2 1/2|
|Millet, hulled||3 - 4||20 - 25 min.||3 1/2|
|Oat Groats||3||30 - 40 min.||3 1/2|
|Oat, bran||2 1/2||5 min.||2|
|Quinoa||2||15 - 20 min.||2 3/4|
|Rice, brown basmati||2 1/2||35 - 40 min.||3|
|Rice, brown, long grain||2 1/2||45 - 55 min.||3|
|Rice, brown, short grain||2 - 2 1/2||45 - 55 min.||3|
|Rice, brown, quick||1 1/4||10 min.||2|
|Rice, wild||3||50 - 60 min.||4|
|Rye, berries||3 - 4||1 hr.||3|
|Rye, flakes||2||10 - 15 min.||3|
|Spelt||3 - 4||40 - 50 min.||2 1/2|
|Teff||3||5 - 20 min.||3 1/2|
|Triticale||3||1 hr. 45 min.||2 1/2|
|Wheat, whole berries||3||2 hrs.||2 1/2|
|Wheat, couscous||1||5 min.||2|
|Wheat, cracked||2||20 - 25 min.||2 1/4|
|Wheat, bulgur||2||15 min.||2 1/2|