© Denzil Green
Black Beans have a strong, earthy flavour. They are used a lot in Latin American, Central American and Caribbean cooking. They are black outside but white inside.
They are often combined with brown rice for a simple meal — and complete protein.
The secret to keeping black beans black is either to cook them without presoaking, or to cook them in the same water in which you soaked them (ignoring the standard flatulence advice about discarding that water and cooking with fresh.) The pigment from the black skin will give other ingredients cooked with the beans a purplish hue.
Generally, many people would say it is not worth pre-soaking black beans, because they are so quick to cook compared to other beans that you really don’t save a whole lot of time. That being said, other people point out that you can probably still save half an hour of cooking time and fuel, and any savings when possible are always worth it.
Regular pot cooking times for black beans:
- Soaked for 8 hours: Simmer on the stovetop for 1 ½ hours.
- Unsoaked: Simmer on the stovetop for 2 hours (though start checking on them after about 1 ½ hours — they cook faster than most other beans, and can go mooshy if overcooked.)
Pressure cooker cooking times for black beans:
- Soaked for 8 hours: 18 minutes on high;
- Unsoaked: 25 minutes on high.
When pressure cooking black beans, whether soaked or unsoaked, per 250 g ( 8 oz / 1 cup) of dried black beans use 750 ml (1 ½ pints / 3 cups) of water, a teaspoon of oil and a bay leaf or two. The oil is a caution against foaming clogging the vents of the pressure cooker.
Note: if your dried beans are “old” (i.e. you know or suspect they’ve been in storage for a few years or more), then a few more minutes cooking time will be needed regardless of cooking method used.
Don’t discard the broth from cooking them; freeze for future use. Black bean broth makes an excellent, not to mention, nutritious sauce or gravy, or can be used to deepen the full taste of a meat gravy, soups and stews.
Another kind of bean.
1 pound of dried black beans = 2 cups dried beans = approx 5 – 6 cups of cooked beans = 30 to 36 oz (850 to 1020g) of cooked black beans.
1 cup cooked black beans = 170 g = 6 oz
1 can (19 fluid oz / 540 ml), drained = 1 ¾ cups cooked black beans = 12 oz = 340 g (commercial bought cooked canned ones tend to be mooshier, have more water in them and therefore weigh a bit more than home-cooked ones)
Up to two years in a sealed container out of heat and light (though cooking time may increase by a few minutes with ones you’ve had around for a while.)
Native to South America.