Here is a simple tutorial to learn how to cook those great beans you just bought.
Most beans require the same steps to get cooked: red kidney beans, cannellini beans, haricott beans, pinto beans and chickpeas.
The first thing you need to do is to soak them. Put them in a bowl, a pan or a jar and cover with plenty of water (a lot of water actually because they are going to absorb it and grow, 3 cups of water for 1 cup of beans should do the trick).
This will reduce the cooking time and will “activate” the beans. After being soaked, they are reacting as if they were supposed to grow, and that increases their content of vitamins and minerals.
It makes them more digestible as well.
Second step: get rid of the soaking water and rinse them.
Then put them into a pan, cover with plenty of water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover with a lid and let the beans cook for at least 30 minutes.
If you want them really soft, let them cook 5 to 10 minutes more. If you want to add them to a recipe, like a curry or a chilli, they will be fine enough.
Here are two more cooking tips:
> Add a spoonful of bicarbonate of soda (the edible one, not the cleaning one) to the cooking water, it will soften the beans and makes them more digestible.
> Always cover your pans when you want to warm food or boil water. It helps reduce the waste of energy by 30% because the content will be warmer faster.