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  1. #1
    Missouri Star

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    Default cooking beans/peas question

    I made a pot of split pea soup yesterday-cooked it for hours and hours and the peas never got soft, they cooked but still had a bite to them. This has never happened to me and I have been cooking a looooong time. DH remarked that when I made a bean soup a few months ago the had the same firm texture (I don't like bean soup so I did not try any). Now we moved to our home a year or so ago and this was the first pea soup I made here, I am thinking it may be a result of the very hard water that has a lot of minerals and calcium in. Could this be the cause? Should I use the bottled water for my cooking? Anyone else have this experience?
    Beth

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  2. #2
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: cooking beans/peas question

    Beth, don't know about the water/mineral issues. I have heard if you salt your beans (or peas in this case) before they are finished cooking that they will be 'tough' or have a bite to them, so that could be an issue if there's any sodium in your water. Being in Wisconsin I doubt you'd have an elevation problem - just know that higher elevations require a longer cooking time.

    I did find this from the Dry Bean Council:

    "Hard-to-cook" beans... are normal when harvested, but become resistant to softening when they're stored for a long time -- months -- at warm temperatures and high humidities. This resistance results from a number of changes in bean cell walls and interiors, including the formation of woody lignin, the conversion of phenolic compounds into tannins that cross-link proteins to form a water-resistant coating around the starch granules. There's no way to reverse these changes and make hard-to-cook beans as soft as regular beans. And there's no way to spot them before cooking. Once cooked, they're likely to be smaller than normal and so may be picked out before serving.
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  3. #3
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: cooking beans/peas question

    I've never made split pea soup before, but when I cook beans I usually presoak my beans the night before. If I don't have the time to presoak them, I will boil them in a pot for about 10 minutes, drain, refill with water then cook them.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: cooking beans/peas question

    You might try adding about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the water while soaking and cooking the beans or peas, to counteract the hard water issue.

  5. #5
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: cooking beans/peas question

    Did you make them in a crock pot or a on the stove top pot? I've found that things cooked in a crock pot are firmer than when cooked on top of the stove.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: cooking beans/peas question

    That's so odd. I've had that problem with certain beans in the past but not split peas. I was always told to make sure they are fresh. If you're using peas you've had in your cabinet for a while that could be the problem. Funny, I remember hearing the opposite about salt. I wonder which is true - salt or no salt to the pot? Soaking beans the night before is supposed to remove some of the chemical in them that causes flatulence. As far as I know you're not supposed to pre-soak split peas. We filter all of our water, but I don't know if that has any effect on the cooking process.
    Last edited by rebeccas-sewing; April 14th, 2015 at 03:34 AM.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: cooking beans/peas question

    I use my blender to puree peas and beans after they are cooked, and haven't noticed a problem with "firm" peas or beans. Maybe this would help break down the peas and help with them being eaten. (My secret ingredient is 1/4 cup of heavy cream or Half & Half added when ready to serve)

  8. #8
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    Default Re: cooking beans/peas question

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy Navas View Post

    I did find this from the Dry Bean Council:

    "Hard-to-cook" beans... are normal when harvested, but become resistant to softening when they're stored for a long time -- months -- at warm temperatures and high humidities. This resistance results from a number of changes in bean cell walls and interiors, including the formation of woody lignin, the conversion of phenolic compounds into tannins that cross-link proteins to form a water-resistant coating around the starch granules. There's no way to reverse these changes and make hard-to-cook beans as soft as regular beans. And there's no way to spot them before cooking. Once cooked, they're likely to be smaller than normal and so may be picked out before serving.
    That's interesting. I just cleaned out the pantry and decided to keep some split peas that have been in there a couple of years. I didn't look at them. So the date say's feb '15 but they were all dusty inside. yucky!



    Lorie

  9. #9
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    Default Re: cooking beans/peas question

    Hi asta, how disappointing to cook a dish that takes that long and have it turn out less than delish. I've been a vegetarian for about 10 years, so believe me when I say I cook a lot of beans and sometimes they just don't turn out right. I don't store a lot of beans because I use them up in rotation quickly. But still, sometimes this happens, and I think it has to do with how the beans are stored prior to purchase (when I know I haven't stored them too long). Yes, your hard water can make a big, big difference. The minerals and ph of hard water can toughen beans and even peas and lentils. For the same reason you add salt to the dish near the end of cooking time. If you don't have a whole house water softener, at least get one of those Pur or Brita pitcher systems or a faucet attachment. Makes a huge difference. You have to store beans in an airtight container. I use Mason jars. Keep them in a cool place with low humidity. According to a chef I took classes from, poor storage conditions can cause beans to change their cell walls and they get slightly woody. There is nothing you can do to change this back once it happens. Get rid of that package of beans. You might be able to salvage the current pot of beans by adding about 1/2 tsp of baking soda to the pot and cooking a bit longer. Worth a try, anyway. But if the beans are fresh, the soda can make them mushy, so don't do that on a regular basis. On the other end of the pH scale, acidic ingredients like tomatoes and lemon or even molasses if you are making from scratch baked beans should be added at the end of cooking time. They will make the skin of beans tough. The chef advised that the last 30 min of cooking is plenty of time for tomatoes to meld their flavors with the dish. Hope this helps. Tell hubby you can fix this issue.

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