Dear Home Ec 101,
I am on hour sixteen, and they still aren’t tender. I gave up the stove top and moved them into a crockpot hours ago.(electricity to run the crockpot is far less expensive than the cost of the gas for the stove) They soaked for 2 days, not kidding. what am I doing wrong? I used bottled water. I am high altitude.
Dry in Denver
For what it’s worth, the song lies. Beans are not the magical fruit some vulgar jingles would have you believe. They do have a shelf life and it sounds as though yours may have passed theirs. As beans age their ability to absorb water breaks down and they won’t swell and become soft when cooked.
Cooking at high altitude does have its challenges. The higher your elevation the lower the temperature at which water boils. Salt does raise the boiling point of water but the amount is negligible. (I wasn’t thinking about scale when I first wrote this piece this morning. ) Although, salt is very important for flavoring the beans. 1 tsp per cup of dry beans is the rule of thumb.
Me? I live about as close to sea level as one can get without drowning.
I’d like to open the comments to those who live at high altitudes and may have suggestions for coping.
Here are more articles on cooking with dried beans.