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Help!!! My pinto & navy beans aren't cooked.

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I started cooking and helping out in the kitchen from about 6 yrs old (my mother was very sickly). My birthday is fast approaching and I'll turn 62. That's well over 50 yrs of cooking experience. I've cooked pinto beans with ham and also navy (white) beans with ham (ham bone from Christmas, frozen). I've done it the same way for years and NEVER had a problem.

The last 3 years, I can't get the darn things to cook. I've soaked, not soaked, brought to a boil, covered and let sit (8-10 hrs), covered them with water and left them over night.....NOTHING WORKS! I'm a good cook ( ask my sons, my hubby or any of my ex's, opps, sorry, you can't, they are all dead). I've got a cockpot full of beans that aren't cooked and I'm frustrated. I don't buy in bulk, I buy packages and never have them more a couple of weeks before using them. Have beans changed in the past 3 years??

Anyone got any ideas? Oh, I live in so UT @ 5800 ft elevation BUT I've been here less than a year and had the same problem in Henderson, NV (2400 ft elevation). I've had to make some minor changes due the elevation (potatos take longer to cook) but it's really not an issue.

I'm ready to give up on ever cooking beans again. HELP....please!!
Thanks!

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  1. Well, according to a quick google, high altitude does affect the cooking time. I assume you're cooking longer. Have you bought from different stores? I forgot about some beans and didn't get around to cooking them for about a year. I cooked those suckers for over 8 hours and they never did soften up.

    The last pintos I bought must have been really "fresh" because at two hours they were starting to fall apart and this was without soaking.

    1. get a pressure cooker. be a happy bean cooker once again. http://www.thatrecipe.com/kitchen_wis...

      1 Reply
      1. re: alkapal

        I second the pressure cooker. Makes a big difference.

      2. Perhaps the hardness of your water has changed. I would buy a jug of spring water - or distilled - and try soaking and cooking in that. I assume you know that if you add acidic ingredients before the beans get soft, they never will. The only other thing I can think of is the cooking vessel. Have you always been using the same "cockpot"? (;-D)

        1. You can try putting a piece of kombu seaweed in the pot. it made quite a diffidence when I used it the beans cooked in much less time