Want to make flavorful bean soup your family will rave about?
Here are a few of the questions we’ll answer:
- How can I get better flavor when I’m using canned beans in my soup?
- How do I use dried beans to make soup?
- What’s one of the most important things to remember when soaking dried beans?
Making Bean Soup You Can Be Proud Of
As the founder and author of Soup So Fine, I have a passion for great soup and sharing delicious soup secrets with fellow soup lovers. More importantly, I want to help you make soup you can be proud to call your own.
Homemade bean soups are a great way to treat yourself and your family to a warm, delicious and satisfying meal. So, let’s begin!
Here's What We'll Cover
- Why use dried beans
- Why soak dried beans
- How to soak them
- Different soaking methods
- Plain water or salt bath
- Why drain, discard the soaking solution, and rinse
Fewer Calories Without Feeling Deprived
Bean soups are rich in protein and delicious in flavor. Incidentally, bean soups can help improve the way you look and feel.
First, beans have a high content of both fiber and water. As a result, one serving of beans can make you feel full more quickly than many other higher calorie foods.
Consequently, when you feel full you feel satisfied, and you’re less likely to take in unnecessary calories. Fewer calories without feeling deprived is the perfect combination.
High Nutrition and Appetite Satisfaction
But the news about beans gets even better! They are high in cell-protecting antioxidants. Thus, beans can help slow the aging process and prevent diseases ranging from cancer to Alzheimer’s.
Given these points, bean soups are a great choice when high nutrition and appetite satisfaction are what you’re after.
Getting Better Flavor from Canned Beans
When it’s your preference or time is a factor, use canned beans in your soups.
One way to enhance the flavor of canned beans is to drain away the packing liquid.
And a fine-mesh sieve makes this task quick and easy. Hold the sieve over a sink, empty the can of beans into the sieve and let the packing liquid drain away. Next, rinse by holding the sieve full of beans under running water.
This simple process clears the way for fresh taste and lowers the sodium content of the beans.
Dried Beans Provide Enhanced Flavor and Texture
Making soup with dried beans is a fun way to experience the feel and beauty of the harvest.
But perhaps more importantly, your bean soups can shine with enhanced flavor and texture.
How to Reap the Benefits of Dried Beans
There are 5 basic steps for preparing dried beans for cooking:
- Sort through the beans and discard any bits of pebbles that slipped through the sifting process. Also discard any discolored or shriveled beans.
- Rinse beans with running water
- Soak (3 methods)
- Traditional soak (overnight)
- Hot soak (4 hours)
- Quick soak (1 hour)
- Drain and rinse
- Cover with fresh cold water and cook
What Are the Benefits of Soaking Dried Beans?
Soaking dried beans before they are cooked:
- Shortens the cooking time
- Reduces the quantity of gas-producing compounds
- Eases the likelihood of digestive discomfort caused by excess gas
Is There a Quick Way to Soak Beans?
One of the drawbacks to starting your soup with dried beans is the idea that soaking them will take a lot of time. However, you can shorten the soak time by boiling the beans first.
Following are 3 basic methods for soaking dried beans:
- The traditional cold water soak method recommends that the beans soak for at least 8 hours – but less than 24 hours.
- The hot soak process involves boiling the beans for 2 minutes and followed by soaking for at least 4 hours – but less than 24 hours.
- The quick soak method also involves boiling the beans for 2 minutes. Then they get a quick hour soak before cooking.
Should Beans Be Soaked in Plain Water or in a Salt Bath?
Contrary to some popular recommendations to only soak beans in plain water, there are now noted advantages to soaking them in a salt bath.
How do you make a salt bath? A salt bath is a solution made by dissolving 1-2 tablespoons of salt in about 2 quarts of water.
This solution helps the beans absorb water more evenly. As a result, they develop a creamy consistency inside and a soft skin outside. Thus, the cooked beans look prettier and have a creamier taste.
Why Should the Soaking Water Be Thrown Away?
After the soaking process is complete, the beans need to be drained and rinsed with clean water. The soaking solution should be discarded because it contains gas-producing compounds responsible for digestive discomfort.
If you omit this step, you may turn your back on bean soup making or at least bean soup eating for good.
You're Ready to Begin
There you have it. Now you’re ready to make the most of the beans you use in your soups. And more flavorful beans mean more flavorful soups.
When you’re using canned beans, it’s recommended that you drain and rinse the beans before adding them to your other ingredients.
When you’re starting your soup with dried beans, there are just a few simple steps to follow. Then with a little planning to get the ball rolling, your bean soups will deliver flavor and satisfaction you and your family can enjoy.