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E. Pressure Cooker Method
The exact cooking time will depend on what kind of bean and what kind of pressure cooker you have, but you can rest assured that you can cook a pot of tender, creamy beans in an hour or less.
To do a whole pound of beans, you will need a large-sized 6- to 8-quart pressure cooker. This is because pressure cookers have strict limits on how little and how much they need to be filled in order to work properly — smaller pressure cookers can't be used to cook a whole pound of beans.
When they're cooked the usual way on the stove top, the greatest drawback with dried beans is the fact that they need to be soaked before cooking, sometimes up to 12 hours. So unless you've planned ahead, dried beans aren't a spontaneous ingredient. There is a quick soaking method where the beans and water are brought to a boil and then left to soak for an hour or so (as opposed to overnight). This helps to cut the cooking time down considerably, but we're still talking a couple of hours before you have a pot of edible beans. This is where the pressure cooker shines: without pre-soaking, a pound of dried beans can be done in anywhere from 6 to 40 minutes, depending on the variety. Pretty great!
Is there a catch? Well, a small one. Pre-soaked beans will (mostly) stay intact when they are pressure cooked, while un-soaked beans tend to split open some. While the quick-soaking method helps somewhat to alleviate the splitting, if you want whole, tender beans then your best bet is to pre-soak. You can use the quick-soak and un-soaked beans for those times when the splitting isn't such a big deal, like when you're making refried beans, hummus, or in soups.
It's a good idea to add 1 tablespoon of neutral oil to the pot. Beans are notorious for producing foam which can clog the pressure valve, and the oil will help to keep that down.
High or Low?
Most pressure cookers have a high and a low pressure setting. The high setting is usually 15 psi (or pounds per square inch) and the low is at 5 psi. You should consult your pressure cooker's manual to determine the manufacturer's psi for high and low pressure for your particular make and model. In general, beans can handle the high setting.
The Release Method
There are two ways to depressurize your pot of beans once the cooking time is done. You can just let it sit and cool down, usually called the slow or natural release. Or you can use the quick release method which means you depressurize manually, usually by pressing a valve on the cooker (consult your manual) or by running cold water over the cover for several minutes. Most pressure cooker experts agree: letting the beans depressurize naturally is the way to go if you want whole, un-split beans.
For un-soaked Beans
D. Slow Cooker Method
For Beans soaked at least 6 hours or overnight
C. No Soak and Dutch Oven Cook Method
The Four Methods of Preparing Dried Beans
The dried beans may contain very small amounts of material leftover from the harvesting process. Rinse and sort through beans, removing any unwanted material. Note - 1 pound of dry Anasazi beans usually measures about 2¼ cups.
A. Hot Soak Method
The Hot Soak is the recommended method for soaking beans, as it reduces actual cooking time and produces consistently tender beans.
1. Place beans in a large pot and add 10 cups of water for every 2 cups of beans.
2. Heat to boiling and boil for an additional 5 minutes.
3. Remove beans from heat, cover and let stand for 4 hours or overnight, up to 24 hours.
3. Drain beans and discard soak water.
4. Rinse beans with fresh, cool water.
5. Use in any recipe calling for cooked beans
B. Overnight Soak Method