HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Feb 28, 2008 12:31 PM

Navy Bean Soup Failure. What happened?

Yesterday I wanted to make navy bean soup in the crock pot. Picked and rinsed the beans. Soaked in boiling water for about 1/2 hour. Drained and put in the crock pot with an onion, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks and 2 bay leaves. Hot water to cover. Turned the crock pot to low and returned 7 hours later. Beans still crunchy. OK, so then I poured them into a dutch oven and cranked up the heat on the stove top. Dinner time came and went. I finally turned off the stove at 9:30 last night and the beans were still very firm.

Beans were new - just bought them at Sunflower Market on Monday and I didn't use any salt. What do you think happened?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Perhaps the beans you bought were old. Does your Sunflower Market turn over their dried legume inventory fairly quickly?

    5 Replies
    1. re: 4Snisl

      I find that it is best to soak navy beans overnight before using them. I do not own a crock pot so I can't opine about that.

      1. re: emilief

        I have used the hot water method on other beans but never on navy beans. Next time I'll try the overnight soak. I would think that any bean would soften after 10 hours of cooking.

        1. re: Pampatz

          I use the overnight soak for virtually all beans. I don't cook them in the slow cooker, but the PC. With an overnight soak, they cook to tender in about 10-15 min. after the PC comes to pressure.

          I tend to use Great Northerns though, instead of navy beans, which I find too bitter.

          I'd try to find a recipe by Googling for beans in the slow cooker, and compare the method recommended with how you did it.

      2. re: 4Snisl

        I think they do. The parking lot is always packed. I really like them as much if not more than Whole Foods. Their veggies are so fresh and the prices are great. I've bought lentils out of the bins before with no problems. This is the first time for navy beans.

        1. re: Pampatz

          Some beans never come around. Try another source. No vendor can test all the beans that come in. A complaint would probably help.

      3. Hi Pampatz,

        I've found that with the boiling water method for soaking navy beans, the best results are achieved with a minimum of 1-2 hours soaking time.

        Hope this helps,

        1. Have you ever used a little kombu too help with the cooking time of beans? check out this website, it really works! even with grains like spelt!


          2 Replies
          1. re: tooth

            I've never heard of kombu but I'm willing to try most anything, at least once. Do you think I could find it at Whole Foods, or would I need to mail order. I know I'll never find anything that exotic in our supermarkets in Mexico.
            Thanks all for your help and suggestions.

            1. re: Pampatz

              Kombu isn't that exotic by asian standards but I can't speak for the markets in Mexico. Whole foods should definitely have it, albeit if a bit pricey, but if for some reason it doesn't it is available online. A fairly small portion ( slightly larger than a postage stamp) is all that's needed and it does not adversely affect the flavor of the beans. Good luck and I hope you find this as helpful and I did when I found out about it.

          2. Judging from your profile, you live at high altitude. If this is the case, cooking beans in a crock pot will take approximately three presidential administrations. A pressure cooker is your best bet.

            1 Reply
            1. re: alanbarnes

              You are right - we are at altitude. Denver is 5280' and Patzcuaro is at 7725'. I'm in Denver and the pressure cooker is in Patz. Nothing is ever where I need it and I refuse to have 2 of everything.

            2. I've had that happen too, though not with navies. Alanbarnes has the right idea; the pc is your friend when it comes to beans. You are supposed to be able to cook beans in the pc without soaking, but I like to soak for awhile anyway--maybe a couple of hours. I agree with the poster who suggested changing brands of beans for awhile. And there is this; I have noticed that filling the cooking vessel too full keeps at least some of the beans from softening. I now only cook 1 c. of beans at a time, instead of 2 c. Of the beans I have cooked through the years, I've had the worst luck with Goya brand.