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Sep 5, 2010 08:32 AM

Will this work? Cooking mixed beans....

I have dry navy, black, and salvadorean (dark red) beans. These are all about the same size and shape. I think they would look attractive as a marinated side dish. If cooked together, the colors will muddy. Also, I don't know if they have similar cooking times.

I would like to cook them separately but without wasting energy on multiple burners, or consecutive cooking. So this is my idea: after soaking, put half a cup of each bean into a different empty aluminum can, add water to each, and set them into a couple of inches of water in a stockpot. Is there any reason not to try this? Should I use, or avoid, white-lined cans? Use glass jars instead and if so, must they be canning jars (unlidded of course). Alternatively, will soaked beans cook in a steamer, where they are not submerged? I tend to think not.

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  1. Do beans cook at less than a simmer?
    The water bath would keep the liquid that the cans of beans are in below a simmer.

    1. This won't work; the beans should at least be at a simmer. To do it the way you describe will have them steaming instead.

      1. Perhaps if you put them in three covered containers in the oven?
        But I really don't think you'd be wasting too much burner energy.

        1. I only thought about cooking them separately after I dumped them all in one bowl of water to soak. I was prepared to divvy them up but since my cooking idea isn't being endorsed, cooked them mixed. Actually, they don't look too bad. The salvadorean beans kept their color so only the black beans bled, turning the white navy beans a putty color. Still a lot of contrast among the 3, and they apparently have the same cooking time. The day was not without its disappointments. Always one for multitasking cooking, while I was simmering the beans I had a steamer atop the pot, containing chunks of Red Bliss potatoes for potato salad. Unbeknownst to me, the bean liquid, which was 2" below the steamer, bubbled up and turned my spuds the same ugly gray as a rotten potato. I made the potato salad anyway, but will need to eat it in the dark ;-( I'm just glad I wasn't making it for company.

          Next time I think I will try putting them in separate cans or jars as I considered for today, but putting the jars into the pressure cooker. I have done rice that way - inch of water, rack, 2:1 water:rice in a bowl on the rack. That works great. I've done beans in the PC, but just beans and water in the pot, and I've always overestimated the cooking time so I no longer do them in the PC.

          1 Reply
          1. re: greygarious

            You should be able to fit three cans into a pressure cooker and finish them off in 25 minutes.
            I personally trust the white lined cans because no rust or foul smells appear after using them. Who knows what else is going on.

          2. You should be able to find pasta strainers with 3 separate chambers that will fit in stock pots. I don't see why you couldn't keep the beans separate using something like this, unless you don't want the liquid used to be the same.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jameshig

              If the liquids were not discrete, the color would bleed.