Photographic proof of the worldwide bean conspiracy courtesy of cookbookman17
About once every two or three years, I'll find myself in the bean aisle of the supermarket. Looking from the canned beans to the dried ones, I'll once again conclude that the lower price and sodium content in the dried beans means I really ought to be soaking my own instead of wasting my money on cans.
I'll take the beans home, follow the quick soak directions (which still takes a good three hours), and find myself eating crunchy beans and rice, or crunchy black bean chili, or crunchy seven bean soup at something like 11 o'clock at night, because of course I never leave myself enough time for the soaking.
At that point, I usually conclude that I'm doing something wrong with the bean soaking (specifically that I should be doing the long soak method instead), and that I'm not capable of planning far enough ahead to really utilize dried beans. I go back to buying the canned variety for another two or three years.
This pattern continued unabated until last week, when I once again decided that I needed to be buying dried beans. Dried black beans, to be specific.
So, after a late meal on Wednesday of cruncy black beans and rice, I decided it was time for me to finally try the long soak method. I bought another bag of beans, planned a delicious black bean soup dinner for Monday night, and set those bad boys to soak starting around 6 pm on Sunday evening.
At 6 pm on Monday evening, at which point our dinner guests had arrived and the soup was simmering and waiting for the beans, I drained my well soaked bounty and started pouring them into the stock pot.
Where they clinked on the bottom.
Yes, even after a 24-hour soak, my black beans were still crunchy.
I had to make a quick run to the grocery store (which, if you're keeping score at home, makes my third grocery trip in two days--and fourth if you count my wallet misadventure) so that I could get some canned beans of the proper consistency.
The truth is abundantly clear: dried beans are not actually edible. I believe they are some kind of tough pebble that bean growers somehow create in the bean-growing process. The bean lobby has figured out a way to market this waste product as a food source, by convincing people that it's possible to cook them. And when cooking doesn't work out, everyone simply assumes that they soaked it wrong or not long enough.
While I have heard some apocryphal stories about home cooks making dried beans in pressure cookers, I have decided that those stories are simply propaganda attempting to show that dried beans are useful for something other than mosaic art projects.
For me, I now know that it's worth the money to buy beans at the proper consistency in time for dinner. Because the alternative is just picking crunchy bean pebbles out of your soup.