Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cooking Beans in the Pressure Cooker

Okay. This is one of those City Girl experiments that didn't go so well. Not that it's the first (not by a long shot). But I had a bunch of black beans to cook, and didn't want to do the whole soak for 12 hours, cook for 2, or whatever long and drawn out processes my cookbook outlined for choices. And it did mention briefly that you could cook them much quicker in a pressure cooker. But it did not give details.

So true to City Girl form, I did my research. Read at least a dozen descriptions online for how to cook beans in the pressure cooker. THEN I discovered that my pressure cooker manual actually DID have instructions for cooking dried beans. (I couldn't find them before because it was under a category called 'Dried Vegetables'.) Now, keep in mind that my pressure cooker is old. I mean OLD. Like, after the elderly next door neighbor lady died 10 years ago, I bought it at her estate sale for 25 cents. Like so old it has directions for how to cook with it on a coal or wood stove. For real. Check it out: So, when the instructions said to soak the beans for 12 hours AND cook them for 35 minutes I thought it seemed a little odd. After all, everything I read online said to cook them for 15 minutes. Some said not to soak at all. Some said to soak. I thought, "This thing is really old. Maybe it's different. I better just do what it says." So I put the beans in to soak before I went to work in the morning and when I got home I turned on the heat. I couldn't quite cook it for 35 minutes because I had to run and pick up my four-year-old from preschool before they closed...but I figured 25-30 minutes was probably fine given that everything else online said 15.

Yeah right. When we got home, I opened up the pressure cooker and what did I get for all my efforts? Mush. Black Bean Mush. Maybe people in the 1950's or whenever my pressure cooker is from ate their beans like mush? Whaddya think? I have no idea, but it's not how I eat them! Ah well. At least I was only making black bean dip. I can make mushy work for that. And now I know for next time. FIFTEEN minutes. And maybe I won't even soak 'em.

Anybody use a pressure cooker to cook beans? Anybody do it with an ancient one like mine? How do you do it?


  1. Learning how to use my Mom;s pressure cooker is on my to do list. I wouldn't get discouraged, it just takes some experimenting to figure out the correct times, etc. I wonder if the times vary with the types of beans and how dry they are to start with?

    By the way, I'm a newbie to your blog. Just a little note about the contrast between the type and the background, it is not very high, so it is a bit difficult for middle aged and older folks. The very bright borders pull attention away from the content as well.

  2. Kudos for trying it out, Heather. My new pressure cooker is still sitting in its box, as I've been so busy these past few weeks and it's one more new thing to learn. But I hope to tackle it sometime in the next week. I'll report back when I do.

  3. Hey, Heath! Before you decide not to soak your beans, you may want to check out this link:

    This is another blog of a lady I know, who, trust me, has DEFINITELY done her research! Let me know your thoughts!

    Take Care,