How to cook beans
High protein legumes and of high energetic value, beans are made of a pod, of different colors, containing seeds that represent the edible part. A handful of beans is enough to provide pasta, soups, or stews with a healthy protein intake.
From the classic pasta and beans to many soups, beans are the protagonists of many preparations. They can also be matched to risottos and stews.
Beans must be shelled just before cooking because the skin, in contact with air, tends to harden. There are many varieties of beans.

How to boil beans

You can use fresh or dried beans. If you opt for fresh beans, choose them with perfectly healthy pods and shell them by applying light pressure at the point where the pod splits. Wash them and transfer them to a pot. Cover with cold water and cook for 1 hour from boiling. Add salt at the end of cooking.
For the dry ones: check that the beans do not contain pebbles or other impurities, soak them for about 12 hours in water that is initially lukewarm. Drain them and transfer them to a pot, covered with cold water. Bring to a boil, adding herbs enclosed in gauze and possibly more hot water during cooking. Salt should be added only at the end. Cooking can take from 1 to 2 hours depending on the age and variety of the beans. The older they are, the more time they take.

Different varieties of beans

Borlotti beans are the most common and appreciated in cooking because they keep well cooked. Typically Italian, they are particularly spread in the northern regions. They have oval seeds, with a light color streaked with red. Sweet, they absorb the flavor of the food with which they cook. The Lamon variety, with very thin skin, has obtained Igp certification. Fresh borlotti are found in late summer-early autumn.
Cannellini is a variety of Tuscan origin, now cultivated in most of Italy. Small and white (green when fresh), they are not sold fresh, but only dried or already cooked and preserved in jars. Very appreciated for the delicacy of their taste, they go very well with both land and sea ingredients. Among the most prized are zolfini beans, with their thin skin and delicate texture, and 2 Igp varieties: Sorana beans, white or red, and Sarconi beans.
The fagioli dall'occhio are one of the most ancient varieties. Characterized by a small black circle in the point of attachment to the pod, they have a fresh and herbaceous taste.
White kidney beans have giant dimensions and floury pulp, with a chestnut taste. They are consumed in a salad, stewed, with tripe.

How best to preserve and cook beans

1) Once opened the package, transfer the legumes in an airtight jar and place them in a dark and cool place: they will keep up to 6 months.
2) Keep in mind that dried legumes, after a long stay in the pantry, need a longer soaking and cooking time. Even lentils that do not require soaking will require it after a few months of storage.
3) Beans keep well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, after which they begin to dehydrate.
4) For long-term preservation it is possible to freeze them: shell the beans and put them in freezer bags, seal them by taking care of letting air out, then put them in the freezer.
5) Before cooking the beans and after soaking them, remove any that remain afloat. Rinse them under cold running water, boil them starting from cold water and salt them only at the end of cooking.
6) Preferably use for their preparation earthenware pots, which ensure gentle and uniform cooking.

Author's Bio: 

Hello, my name is Brandon Willson and I am a retired chef. In this blog I’m going to share small secrets of cooking, “how” to cook different dishes, useful and not only