INTRODUCTION: Brine-soaking dried beans is a new procedure that was researched and promoted by Americas Test Kitchen (also the Cook’s Illustrated folks). We have used it exclusively since first trying it. We  were surprise to learn that using a heavy amount of salt in the soaking water for dried beans prepared the beans better than the same time soaking in plain water. We found the brined beans cooked a little faster; they held onto their skins better, and the interiors are creamier than usual.

To BRINE beans: For one pound of beans, rinse and pick through to eliminate foreign objects like pebbles.  Place washed beans into pot, add 3 tablespoons salt and 1 gallon water. Allow the mixture to soak over night or 12-24 hours. Drain off brine water; rinse beans, and cook as directed in the recipe you are using.

To COOK soaked/brined beans: Place beans into a clean pot; cover with water about 2 inches above beans; and cook 20-25 minutes. Beans are done when they are cooked but still firm to the tooth.

For MARINATED beans to use as a salad ingredient in another recipe: 1. make the marinade of six cloves garlic, juice of one lemon, and 3 tablespoons EVOO for each pound of beans. 2. Drain cooked beans well; while hot, place cooked beans into the prepared marinade and stir to distribute. Drain excess liquid then chill the marinated beans until ready to use.



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