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I cooked some white beans but they came out kind of crunchy and it seems like every bean had a shell that was loosely attached that made the texture unpleasant.

Here's what I did: Rinsed and drained the beans, then soaked over night for 9 hours. Rinsed and drained again. Filled a pot with water, added basil and onions and brought to a boil. Scooped away any foam and floating bits, such as loose shells. Simmered for 2 hours and stirred occasionally.

The end result was edible, but all the beans had shells that I had to spit out. It was like eating the shell of a shrimp, albeit not as tough.

What did I do wrong? How else am I supposed to cook white beans so that this doesn't happen?

Update: No salt was added at any point, only what was stated above. Also, I let it cool for about 20-30 minutes before I ate them.

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Did you add salt? (You just said basil and onions, but just in case...) –  Jefromi Sep 6 '13 at 1:05
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Is there a chance you added anything acidic? Sometimes acids can cause the seed coats on beans to toughen, which is what this sounds like. –  sourd'oh Sep 6 '13 at 20:13
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2 Answers 2

I'm not sure if you did or not, but there's like an hour standing period with cannelinis afterward. That may have affected it if you ate them right away. You really should try doing your beans in a slow cooker as well. Try cooking normally, but then adding dry beans to slow cooked dishes is GREAT. Depending on the bean, and a nice sturdy bean like cannelini is great for that.

Enjoy!

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I have never heard of a standing period for beans... what is the purpose of this? –  SAJ14SAJ Sep 6 '13 at 21:29
    
I've understood that it is basically the equivalent to letting meat "rest". What happens is that if you continue to blast the outside with heat, it falls apart, but the inside will only get so done. When it's standing afterward, the gentler carry over cooking occurs and allows the outside to cool while the residual heat still works on the inside. My understanding, could be erroneous. Enjoy! –  Dave Sep 9 '13 at 13:22
    
The size of beans is such that this is just not a factor. They are less than a cm thick. If they were meat, they would rest in about 20 seconds. And beans don't have the structure or composition of meat. –  SAJ14SAJ Sep 9 '13 at 13:23
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Dried ingredients still hold some moisture. They gradually lose more moisture as they sit on the shelf and would therefore need a longer soaking time. Ive heard some chefs talk about this principle when baking. E.g. Adding more water to a bread recipe if your flour is 'old', ofcourse this is a variable thats more easily observed when handeling flour. But if your beans had been sitting in the cupboard for a while or even on the shelf in the store. they would probably need to soak a while longer. Just speculating, but it could explain the crunchy beans.

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