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In making ham and bean soup, using either dried Great Northern or Navy beans, the beans remain hard after following the package directions to prep for cooking. I have tried soaking the beans over night and also the quick method of boiling for two minutes then letting sit for a few hours. Nothing seems to soften the beans, even after fully cooking the soup. Any ideas would be appreciated!
How long are you cooking the soup for? Are you using a pot on the stove or a crock pot. If it's a crock pot, are you lifting the lid to stir it? I make it all the time & have never had this problem. A friend at the office tried making in a crock pot but kept lifting the lid to stir it & said it took 'forever' to get done. These beans still take a long time to cook...not like split peas or lentils.
I use a stock pot, bringing the soup to a boil then slow simmer for 2-3 hours. Even after reheating the soup the next day, the beans stay hard.
I know this sounds weird but make certain that the dry beans are fresh. If they sit too long in the pantry, they don't soften up properly when cooked.
Pecan pie, pecan tassies... If you do a search on this BB, you'll find a lot of recipes. Wow, that was a great deal. I love pecans - hope you enjoy them!
I have hard water so I do the quick boil on the stove - let them stay in the crock pot for at least a day and a half. (i.e. let them cook overnight and through the next morning. Sometimes 16-18 hours. I also heard not to put salt in the water.
May I suggest that for the next time you cook anything with beans in it, invest in buying a gallon of distilled water in the grocery store (or even two bottles), Use the distilled for soaking and for cookjing and do not salt until te beans are almost done. I would cook the ham seperately in some distilled water to get some of the salt out. When half done, take out of that water and put in with beans and finish cooking for 1/2 hr.
If you let the soup sit over night the flavors will meld and the soup will taste much better on the second day, so cook it ahead.
I am a cheerleader for cooking dried beans in the crockpot. Since I learned to ALWAYS start with steaming hot water over the beans I have not had a problem with the centers being hard. My method is to wash the beans and run your water from the tap as hot as it gets. I start my crockpot on high with beans and water and the seasoning meat. I do not salt the beans until they are basically done. The beans will cook in 4-5 hours on high or if you switch it to low they will take 6-7 hours. The big key is to start with hot water and no salt until they are done. Good luck!
I agree that hard water may be the problem. I had the same problem until we got a reverse osmosis water system. Try buying filtered water in the gallon jugs and see if that helps.
Another thing that no one else has mentioned so far, is using a pressure cooker. You can pressure them for the required amount of time to tenderize them, and then finish cooking the beans and other ingredients you are using in the same pan. You only have to pressure the beans, not the other ingredients. If I had my manual at hand, I would look up the time, but I don't want to get it out this late at night.
I don't like cooking beans in a crock pot. I tried it once and I thought they would never get done. Once trying the crockpot was enough for me.
I've never had that problem before, and I'm sure I've lived places where I've had hard water. The secret is waiting to add the salt and other seasonings when they are almost done.
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