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I know why my beans haven't softened - I was adapting a recipe (that calls for tinned beans) to use dried - and there's vinegar in the sauce. I soaked an assortment of beans from different packs overnight, and cooked in the slow cooker on high for 8 hours. That would normally be plenty even in chilli with a fair bit of tomato. As the beans came from different packs that were fine a week ago, and were uniformly too firm, I don't reckon it's that the beans are too old. They were just about edible last night. A further 12 hours on low overnight softened them a little more, but they're still firmer than I'd like. The recipe isn't online but it's beans, onion, garlic, spices, treacle and vinegar, similar to a vegetarian Boston Baked Beans.

The solution for next time is easy - add the vinegar when they're nearly cooked - but I made several portions and would like to make the best of what I've cooked.

Is there anything I can do at this stage to make them soften further? Would neutralising the acid and cooking some more help?

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  • Been there. I have tried baking soda and further cooking without success.
    – Jolenealaska
    Jul 14 '20 at 9:18
  • Wild, no evidence, out of left field idea - I wonder if something similar is happening like if you bring potatoes to almost a boil then switch off. They then retain their structure no matter how long you cook them a second time.
    – unlisted
    Jul 14 '20 at 9:21
  • @Tetsujin possibly, but I never let them cool - when I realised they were barely edible but I was hungry and the rest of my dinner was ready, I just left the slow cooker on, turning it down before bed (and beans normally cook OK on low for about 12 hours)
    – Chris H
    Jul 14 '20 at 9:33
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    @ChrisH - sorry, I meant the end result being similar, rather than the actual cause. par-boil vs acid.
    – unlisted
    Jul 14 '20 at 9:42
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    @Jolenealaska don't you mean 'Bean there' ? Jul 14 '20 at 9:50
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Blender.

That will get them soft. Then you can fry the bean paste, like refried beans.

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  • I did indeed do something very similar, only I added a bit of gram flour and formed it into burgers before frying. Strangely a few beans that escaped being blended seemed softer - maybe the extra soak, maybe the extra cooking, or maybe the different context affected my perception of the texture
    – Chris H
    Jul 14 '20 at 20:11
  • The psychology of bean eating... A new frontier!
    – Willk
    Jul 16 '20 at 1:18

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