brining beans

As I write this, Pandora is playing “Company In My Back” by Wilco. This fact has nothing to do with brining beans. But I’m telling you anyway, because it makes me ridiculously happy, so  happy that I want to document the moment. Actually, this entire day has been like that. I went to yoga this morning, early, which meant that I came into downtown with the sun, which was rising behind the skyline. Chicago’s skyline is as good a reason as any to appreciate the CTA brown line, especially that slow curve between the Armitage and Sedgwick stops. The view takes my breath away every morning. Well, maybe not every morning, but today, for sure. It was glorious. As was yoga. Then I worked for a couple of hours before going to Second City for some free comedy classes. So fun! And now I’m home, posting about beans again. More fun! (And no, I am not being sarcastic. I’m completely in love with blogging. About beans.)

The plan for today (and tomorrow) is to follow through on my post from January 2, when I meant to cook chickpeas but couldn’t because I didn’t have any and therefore wound up making cranberry beans with garlic, sage, and olive oil instead.  In my original post I said that I prefer not to presoak the beans because I believe soaking reduces nutrients and flavor. Apparently there’s some controversy on the subject and not much evidence to support my belief. But I, being stubborn, remained firmly in the non-soaking camp until one of you mentioned a Cook’s Illustrated article about brining beans. Brining beans?! Who knew? Not me. Meat, yes, but not beans. Yet it makes perfect sense. I must try! Here’s an America’s Test Kitchen’ video that explains the process in typically thorough Cook’s Illustrated fashion. It’s pretty simple.

2 c. dried beans
4 qts. water
3 T. table salt

Mix the salt into the water until it dissolves. Add the beans. Soak for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse before cooking.

This is very exciting. I’ll post my review tomorrow.

2 comments on “brining beans

  1. […] if I know I’m going to be gone all day (which I usually am), I brine the beans overnight (, and then add all of the ingredients except the red bell pepper and corn at start. Then I cook on […]

  2. […] I cooked the beans. Because I wanted them to retain their shape, I brined overnight. ( I added spices and olive oil in an effort to create a richer mouth feel and a deeper, more complex […]

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