Dried navy beans, also known as pea beans, are one legume that even infrequent bean eaters have experience with. They're the traditional bean used in baked beans and in the classic French dish cassoulet.
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Navy beans are not only an inexpensive source of protein, they are also rich in essential vitamins and minerals, including phosphorus, iron and calcium, according to the USDA. Navy beans are also a good source of potassium, according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, with 354 milligrams in a 1/2 cup serving.
Navy beans are even healthier when you cook or prepare the dried beans at home because canned beans contain a high amount of sodium that home-cooked navy beans lack.
Healthy adults should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, according to the American Heart Association. Reduce sodium content in canned beans by rinsing them before cooking, as recommended by North Dakota State University.
Step 1: Rinse Dry Navy Beans
Place 1 pound of navy beans in a colander; discard any debris, stones and discolored or broken beans,; and rinse under cold running water.
Step 2: Cover and Soak Beans
Place the beans in the stockpot and cover with 5 cups of cold water. Put the pot's lid in place and allow the beans to soak 12 hours or overnight.
Step 3: Drain and Add More Water
Drain the beans. Return them to the pot and add 4 quarts of cold water. Add 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt.
Step 4: Boil and Then Simmer
Bring the water to a boil. Skim off any dark-colored scum or foam that accumulates on the top of the water with a large spoon. Cover the pot loosely with the lid and turn the heat to low so that the beans are at a gentle simmer.
Step 5: Cook Until Tender
Cook until the beans are tender, from one to two hours. Stir occasionally during the cooking time to prevent the beans from sticking to the pot's bottom.
Drain the beans. Use them immediately, or store them in their cooking liquid for up to three days in the refrigerator.
Read more: The Side Effects of Beans
Consider These Tips
If you're pressed for time, you can skip the overnight soak and instead quick-soak the beans for your simple navy bean recipes. Rinse the beans, place them in a saucepan and cover them with 1 inch of water. Boil for two minutes, then cover the pan, remove from heat and allow to sit, undisturbed, for one hour. Drain the beans and continue cooking following the normal procedure.
Beans can cause digestive problems for many eaters. You can decrease the discomfort of eating beans by using a commercially available enzyme product or always soaking the beans overnight before cooking. Drain this water and fill the pot with fresh water prior to cooking, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
For added flavor, try cooking the beans with herbs or flavorings such as sprigs of rosemary, garlic cloves or chili peppers.
Things You'll Need
1 pound dried navy beans
Deep stockpot with tight-fitting lid
5 cups and 4 quarts water, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- Cleveland Clinic: "What You Should Know About Beans and the (Embarrassing) Gas They Cause"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Navy Beans"
- North Dakota State University: "All About Beans Nutrition, Health Benefits, Preparation and Use in Menus"
- American Heart Association: "How Much Sodium Should I Eat Per Day?"
- Health.gov: "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020: Appendix 10. "Food Sources of Potassium"