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Frequently Asked Questions

Beans Soaking and Sprouting

Cooking Beans

Soaking and or sprouting beans greatly reduces cooking time and improves digestibility, especially of medium to large sized beans.


  1. Rinse beans and sort out any small stones etc.
  2. Soak - for large to medium sized beans, soak for approximately eight hours.
  3. Sprout if desired (see below for sprouting instructions.)
  4. Rinse and cook with 2-4 time as much water as beans (less water if required if pre-soaked or sprouted)
  5. Add fennel seeds or kombu seaweed to the water to minimize gas producing potential of the beans.
  6. Skim the froth off the top of the water as it forms during cooking.
  7. Beans are cooked when you can easily mush them up against the roof of your mouth
  8. Most cooked beans, (except for lentils) freeze well. Use glass mason jars filled 2/3’s full.

Garbanzo, mung beans, lentils, adzuki and whole peas sprout particularly well.

Black, kidney, black eyed pea, Northern and pinto may not but it depends upon your source and whether it is raw and reasonably fresh. Very old beans or those which have been pasteurized or irradiated will not sprout.

Combinations of beans can be sprouted together if they are all raw and approximately the same size. For a mixture of different sized sprouted beans, combine after sprouting.

  1. Wash then soak beans for 8-12 hours (in a glass, ceramic or stainless steel bowl)
  2. Drain in a food safe colander, or sprouting jar.
  3. Rinse twice a day until a ‘tail’ begins to emerge from the end of the bean at which point they are considered germinated or sprouted. Bean will be most tender once the 'tail' has reached 1/4 the size of the bean.
  4. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Sprouted beans cook in just a few minutes. Cook them until soft. Sprouted cooked beans don’t need to be AS soft as un-sprouted beans so experiment and see what feels and tastes best to you.

Cooking Dry Beans

Information and approximate cooking times for unsprouted or lightly soaked beans:


  • From Japan -small, oval, dark brown or purple
  • Good source of protein, minerals, good for kidney ailments, easily digested

To cook one cup dry beans:
4 cups water, for 60 minutes - yield 3 cups.

  • From Latin America – very versatile black bean with a soft, creamy texture
  • Good source of zinc, lower in fiber than most beans

To cook one cup dry beans:
4 cups water, for 60 minutes – yield 2 cups

  • Originally from China-a bean not a pea- Black spot (eye) identifies this versatile white colored bean.
  • Good source of B-complex vitamins, average protein content

To cook one cup dry beans:
(soaking optional) 4 cups water, for 60 to 90 minutes – yield 2 cups

  • From ancient Egypt – large, light brown bean with tough skin that can be removed after cooking.
  • Good source of calcium, iron and phosphorous

To cook one cup dry beans:
4 cups water, 90 to 120 minutes- yield 2 1/4 cups

  • Cultivated since 5000BC, popular worldwide, tan color, medium sized and very versatile.
  • excellent source of many nutrients, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, iron, vitamins, very high in folic acid.

To cook one cup dry beans:
4 cups water, 90 to 120 minutes- yield 2 cups

  • Medium sized white bean, famous in baked bean dishes, mild flavor
  • Good source of protein and carbohydrates – low in fat

To cook one cup dry beans:
3 cups water, 90-120 minutes- yield 2 cups

  • Popular bean with distinctive red color and shape – robust flavor
  • very high in minerals, low in fat, high in fiber and protein

To cook one cup dry beans:
3 cups water 60 -90 minutes – yield 2 cups

  • Related to peas, from ancient Asia, easily digested
  • High in minerals and vitamins A and B complex – low in fat, high in fiber

To cook one cup dry beans:
3 cups water, 30 -40 minutes, - yield 2.5 cups

  • Can be traced back to the Incas – has distinctive flavor and light green color
  • High in protein and minerals – may be more difficult to digest than other beans for some

To cook one cup dry beans:
2 cups water, 60 -90 minutes – yield 2 cups

  • From India and China – most often seen as ‘bean sprouts’ in Chinese Cuisine
  • Used therapeutically for their detoxifying properties – high in nutrients, low in fat and calories and easy to digest

To cook one cup dry beans:
3 cups water, 45 – 60 minutes – yield 2 cups

  • Similar to Great Northern but smaller – higher in some minerals than Great Northern

To cook one cup dry beans:
2 cups water, 90-120 minute cooking time – yield 2 cups

  • Widely used but popular in Mexican dishes
  • Brown speckled in color- good source of potassium, iron, calcium and protein, high in folic acid

To cook one cup dry beans:
3 cups water, 90-120 minutes – yield 2 cups