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From: Deborah (Recipes.vegsource.com)
Subject:         Beans, Basically...
Date: July 12, 2010 at 8:13 pm PST

In Reply to: Bean Basics posted by Crab on July 11, 2010 at 12:51 pm:

I generally don't keep leftover beans for more than three days (approx). But that's just me.
If I have to keep them longer, I freeze them for up to several months.

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If you are going to cook extra beans with the idea of freezing some, don't put in too much flavoring. That way, you can season the reheated beans different ways and make several very different meals from the same original batch of beans.

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There is, in my opinion (which is what you asked for) no one perfect method of cooking beans.

Some people swear by slow-cookers, and that can be fine with the right techniques.

A nice compromise is to cook beans until barely tender on the stovetop, then transfer to a casserole dish, season with all sorts of things, then bake, covered, until beans are very tender.

A heavy pot with a good, thick bottom is excellent for stovetop bean cooking.

Use either the overnight soak or the quick-soak method for most types of beans, to get rid of a number of substances that you are better off without.

Drain the soaking water, and cook beans in fresh water to cover + 2" more.

If the beans tend to stick, use a very low heat, or even a heat-diffuser (a.k.a. flame-tamer) under the pot. Stir occasionally. Add salt at the last moment, to taste.

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Beans that don't require pre-soaking are split peas, lentils, and black-eyed peas.

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