No Beans About It: Readers Write in Solutions
                    For Preparing Pintos

From Tyler Morning Telegraph, Readers Swap, October 15, 2008.
Thank you readers! This week I have received a number of solutions for preparing the perfect pinto beans after a request from Susan Marble, of Chandler.
The following is a sampling of responses:

From Del in Sulphur Springs
“I am sharing a different version of the ‘fast cook’ method which is also called ‘almost gasless dry beans.’ I have used this method many times with excellent results. Also, to reduce gas in beans, add one white potato (washed and quartered) to beans when you start to cook them. Discard the potato after the beans are cooked.

“Pick over 1 pound dry beans for stones and debris. Wash well. Put in a large 6 to 8 qt. pot. Cover with cold water to a depth of 2 inches over the beans. Place on high heat. Bring to a full rolling boil and boil hard for three minutes. Remove from heat. Place the lid on the kettle and let stand for one to one-and-one-half hours. Pour the beans into a colander or strainer. Rinse the empty pot very well. Run cold water over the beans, shaking the colander until the beans stop foaming. The beans must be rinsed thoroughly. They are now ready to return to the pot to finish cooking with fresh water. It will take about one to one-and-one-half hours more to cook.

“I clipped this info. from a newspaper column years ago and a friend told me about the ‘potato’ method.”

From Leslie McLane in Overton
“Do not put cold water into hot beans or put hot beans into cold water. This will cause the outer skin of the beans to shrink or expand and break. Result: mush. Keep a pan or kettle of hot water on burner to add hot water to cooking beans. If you want thickened juice, stir several times after beans are nearly done.

“If you have dried beans that are old use a pressure cooker. Caution: read and follow the pressure cooker directions. They can be cooked in about 35 minutes, after soaking overnight.

“P.S. I am an 86 year old male. I owe my early survival on my mother’s pinto beans.”

From Jan Jordan, RN, MSN
“I come from New Mexico where pinto beans are a staple in many homes. I soak my beans overnight and rinse them in a colander the next morning. I cook them in a slow cooker on low with plenty of water and either a ham bone or a ham hock. When they are done season and remove the fat and bone, leaving behind all that wonderful ham.

“Prior to leaving the house for work, I add about 3/4 can of Coca Cola. You can use diet or regular and you can use generic or name brand. Do not use Dr. Pepper as that changes the taste of the beans; the coke doesn’t. This eliminates the gas producing elements in the beans. I was taught this technique in a small hospital with a large Hispanic population that delivered a lot of babies. These ladies were used to eating beans, but the hospital did not want the babies to have an excess amount of gas on their little bellies. It really works. You can eat beans on Saturday night and attend church on Sunday without fear of embarrassment.

“We eat pinto beans with cornbread and pan fried potatoes and a slice of onion. Leftovers can be used for refried beans by mashing and cooking in a little oil with a minced garlic pod and putting cheddar cheese on top. This makes great burritos with flour tortillas and salsa.

“Hope you enjoy them.”

From Al Whitehead
•  1 lb. Casserole brand of
pinto beans, washed and picked
•  1 medium chopped onion
•  1 red bell pepper
•  1 tsp. chicken bullion
•  3 Tbsp. Bolner’s Pinto Bean Seasoning
(available at Kroger’s or Brookshire’s)

Wash and pick pinto beans; soak overnight.
Decant and place in boiler or slow cooker,
cover with water. Add onions, pepper and
pinto bean seasoning to beans. Place bullion
in microwave-safe measuring cup filled with
one cup of water and microwave on high for
two minutes; add to beans. Bring beans to a
boil and lower heat, or cook in slow cooker
until beans are tender. Serve with other
entre or with Martha White Gladiola
Cornbread Mix, which has 2 grams of sugar.
Freezes well