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Great Northern bean

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Great Northern beans

Description Edit

Great Northern beans are a North American bean, which is popular in France for making cassoulet (a white bean casserole) and in the whole Mediterranean where many beans of a similar appearance are cultivated. These beans have a delicate flavor, thin skin, and are flat, kidney shaped, medium-sized white beans. Great Northern Beans are high in fiber, a good source of protein and iron, and are fat, sodium, and cholesterol free.

Storage Edit

  • Store dry beans in a cool, dry place off the floor. High temperatures cause hardening of the dry beans; high humidity may cause mold.
  • Store cooked great northern beans in a covered non-metallic container and refrigerate. Use within 2 days or freeze.

Uses and Tips Edit

Preparation Edit

Soaking not only makes the beans cook faster, but by discarding the soaking water, gas-causing compounds may be reduced. Sort beans to remove foreign matter, such as small stones, dark or odd shaped beans. Rinse in a colander under cold water.

Directions for Soaking Dry Great Northern Beans Edit

There are four ways to soak beans, depending on how far in advance you plan and how much time you have, you can decide which method of soaking will work best for you.

Hot Soak Edit

In a stockpot, bring 10 cups water to a boil. Add 1 pound dried beans and return to a boil. Remove from the heat; cover tightly and set aside at room temperature 2–3 hours. Drain and rinse the beans.

Overnight Method Edit

In a large pot, add 1 pound dry beans to 10 cups cold water. Cover. Let stand in refrigerator overnight. Drain and discard soaking water. Rinse the beans. Replace water and cook immediately after soaking period. Longer periods of soaking are not recommended.

Quick Soak Method Edit

In a large pot, pour dry beans into boiling water and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and allow to set for 1 hour. Drain and discard soaking water and proceed with cooking.

Gas-Free Soak Edit

In a stockpot, place 1 pound of beans in 10 or more cups of boiling water; boil for 2–3 minutes, cover and set aside overnight. The next day approximately 75 to 90 percent of the indigestible sugars will have dissolved into the soaking water. Drain, and then rinse the beans thoroughly before cooking them.

Cooking Edit

Use approximately 1¾ quarts boiling water for each pound of soaked beans to be cooked. Add herbs or spices (not salt), as desired. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender for about 90 minutes. Boiling beans will break the skins and leave you with a mushy meal. Add more water if the beans are not covered. Add additional boiling water if beans become dry. Drain, if desired.

When the beans are tender, drain and use in recipes; or for later use, immerse them in cold water until cool, then drain well and freeze in 1- to 2-cup packages. One pound of dried beans will yield about 5 or 6 cups cooked beans.

Pressure Cooking Edit

This is one of the quickest ways to cook beans. After you've soaked 1/2 pound of beans, place them in a 4-quart pressure cooker with 4 cups water. Cook at 15 pounds pressure following the manufacturer's directions for the type of legume you are cooking.

High Altitude MethodEdit

If you live at a high altitude, pressure cooking is the only way to prepare beans within a reasonable timeframe. This is because a high altitude results in lower air pressure, which in turn results in water boiling at a lower temperature. This means that it takes longer to cook anything in a liquid, such as braising meats, beans, etc.

A method for pressure cooking gasless beans follows:

  1. Rinse, then soad a bag of beans (16oz/1lb) overnight.
  2. Drain off water and put the beans in at least a 6 quart pressure cooker.
  3. Add enough water to cover 2 inches above the beans. Be careful to not overfill the pressure cooker as per the manufacturer's directions.
  4. Add 4 tbsp of vegetable oil. The oil helps cut the "frothing" that occurs in the pressure cooker.
  5. Cook the beans as recommended by the manufacturer. Keep in mind that higher altitudes require longer cooking times and more liquid in the pressure cooker. You may need to experiment to find the optimal cooking time for your location.
  6. After the beans are finished cooking, put the pressure cooker in a sink and run cold water over the lid ("quick release" method). Once the pressure indicator drops, open the lid away from you. The beans and liquid will still be boiling hot.
  7. Add 1/2 cup baking soda. There will be a lot of frothing and will likely spill over the top of the pot. Don't worry when that happens. Stir the beans once the frothing has started to subside (about 1~2 minutes). Pour the beans into a strainer and rinse well under hot water. Now the beans are ready to use.

Cooking Tips Edit

Do not add salt or acidic ingredients, like vinegar, tomatoes or juice, this will slow the cooking process. Instead, add these ingredients when the beans are just tender.

Cooking times vary with the types of beans used but also may vary with their age.

Beans are done when they can be easily mashed between two fingers or with a fork. Always test a few beans in case they have not cooked evenly

Soaking, cooking, tips, and times provided by California Dry Bean Board.

Great Northern bean Recipes Edit

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