Cooking dried beans at altitude

Asked December 18, 2018, 3:33 PM EST

I have been unsuccessful with cooking dried beans at altitude. I soak the beans overnight to 24 hrs. They always come out hard and I need to over cook the beans 36 hrs to make them edible. One contact recommended not soaking them and cook them with 1/2 - 1 tsp of baking soda, then add your other ingredients to finish this dish. Need your assistance.

Adams County Colorado

1 Response

You may cook dry legumes successfully at altitude but it may take a bit longer. There are different methods and soaking overnight will definitely help shorten cooking time. One suggestion is to place pre-soaked beans in the crockpot, cover with at least 2 inches water, cook on HIGH setting for approx. 3 hours (which at 8,000 ft may be more like 4-5 hours. Do not add salt until the end of cooking or beans can become tough.

North Carolina State Univ.

says High altitude generally extends the cooking time one hour on low for every 4,000 feet. Dried beans, especially kidney beans, contain a natural toxin that is easily destroyed by boiling. Safe steps include soaking the beans for 12 hours and then boiling for at least 10 minutes, before adding the beans to the slow cooker.

The Univ. of Idaho Extension brochure doesn't say to pre-soak the beans, but cooking time is much longer. It says: Cooking dry beans in a crockpot Sort beans, checking for rocks, dirt, etc. Rinse well. Combine 2 cups beans and 8 cups water in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours (or overnight) until beans are soft. Cooked beans, peas or lentils keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator and also freeze well. Freeze extras in freezer containers or freezer bags.

hope this helps.