There are multiple varieties of red beans, which include kidney beans, and adzuki beans.
However, most often, the term “red bean” refers to a bean that is similar to the kidney bean but smaller in size. Red beans are delicious in salads, soups, salsas, New Orleans style red beans and rice, and even all by themselves.
The virtues of the red bean
All of the red bean varieties are similar in taste and in nutritional value. The red bean’s long list of virtues includes facts like these. Red beans are high in protein, fiber, and iron. They are low in fat, cholesterol-free, and they are a natural antioxidant. In fact, the red bean is a super health food that has one of the highest antioxidant ratings of any food item.
The importance of sorting, rinsing, and soaking beans
Sorting beans is important to remove small stones, which easily get picked up with beans. The easiest way to sort beans is to use a colander. Swirl two cups of dry red beans in the colander removing any stones and dirt, as well as any wrinkled, discolored beans, or beans with holes.
Since water begins the rehydration process of dried beans, beans are never washed before they are packaged. Since you have previously sorted your red beans in a colander, rinsing them will be easy. Rinse them with cool water for a few minutes before beginning the soaking process.
Soaking shortens the time required to cook the beans.
The traditional method of soaking beans is done in a covered bowl, overnight, and in water that is about 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover the beans with the water and soak them between 8 and 10 hours. Beans will begin to lose flavor after more than 10 hours of soaking.
Discard the water used for soaking the beans. The short version of the reason for cooking red beans with fresh water is that it will mean less flatulence as a consequence of ingesting the finished product.
Cooking red beans
Red beans can be cooked in a variety of ways, which include cooking them in a pressure cooker, Dutch oven, crock pot, or on top of the stove.
One of the most basic cooking methods is the stove top method described below. It is a slower method but one that will bring out the best of the red bean’s flavor.
Place the two cups of soaked red beans and 6 cups of fresh water into a large metal pot such as stainless steel or cast iron. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil per cup of beans to the water and bring the water and beans to a boil. Then turn down the heat to a medium low setting and loosely cover the kettle.
Remember to stir the beans intermittently, add to the water level when necessary so that water covers the beans throughout the cooking process. Taste test a bean for tenderness every 30 minutes or so. Beans will take between 1 to 3 hours to achieve palatable tenderness.
During the cooking process foam will develop on top of the water. This foam does not need to be removed as it contains protein and other nutrients.
Click on the link below for complete nutritional information on the red bean.
Here are two links to videos for making New Orleans style red beans and rice, one is a more traditional version, and the other is a healthier version.
Traditional New Orleans style red beans and rice: