Cooking beans

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Cooking beans

In the past, I have been vaguely intimidated by the thought of cooking beans from scratch. There's always the admonition to spread them out somewhere and look for stones or other weird things that got mixed in. Then there are complicated instructions about how to soak them, for many how many hours, overnight or not, whether or not to throw away the soaking water as it is said to reduce whatever it is that causes flatulence from beans, and instructions to buy an imported clay pot in which to cook them.

It probably is a good idea to see if there are any obvious stones though I have never seen one in my beans. I think it's easiest to just cook up a pound of beans as you could use them a few times during a week's worth of meals. They are tasty, inexpensive, versatile, and healthy — depending of course on what is served with them.


  • 1 pound beans dried beans
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1/2 onion


  1. Look for stones. 
  2. Cover with 2 inches of water. Let them sit for at least 6 hours. 
  3. Sauté carrot, celery, and onion in olive oil in a large pot that has a cover. 
  4. Add the beans, either with the soaking water or with fresh water. As the beans often swell up to about twice the size, you may have to add more water to cover them with an inch of water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover partially or not. Look at them once in a while and add water to keep them covered. Cook them until tender — up to 3 hours depending on the bean.