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Beans and acids - another old wive's tale?

greygarious Mar 31, 2013 09:43 PM

The claim that cooking dry beans in salted water results in tough beans has been thoroughly discredited. Now I noticed on Essential Pepin that he cooked unsoaked kidney beans in a liquid containing canned tomato. http://blogs.kqed.org/essentialpepin/...

The braise takes 2-2.5 hours, which doesn't seem to indicate a lot of extra time to cook the beans. Before I learned that acid and dry beans are a no-no, I made a vegetable soup in a tomatoey broth and my kidney beans never got fully cooked. Yet I can't imagine that M. Pepin would present a recipe that doesn't work.

  1. paulj Apr 1, 2013 09:23 AM

    Cooks Illustrated found that acid does slow down the cooking of beans, while making the water a bit alkaline (with baking soda) speeds it up. They recommend adding citrus juices and vinegar at the end of cooking. Tomatoes need some cooking time, so they recommend adding those part way through, after the softening has begun.

    Hard water, with calcium ions, is more of a problem.

    See their 'Science of Good Cooking' for more on this.

    1. t
      tastesgoodwhatisit Apr 1, 2013 03:18 AM

      I have found that with chickpeas, they will cook in a reasonable time, but don't end up as tender as ones cooked for the same time in a non acid broth.

      1. Cherylptw Mar 31, 2013 10:15 PM

        I've never had issues with acid and dry beans not cooking...I put salt and tomatoes in dry beans all the time and they've always cooked in a reasonable amount of time...

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