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How to cook beans in a thermos

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Dried beans are a wholesome and inexpensive food, and are easy to cook at home. With this technique, soaked beans are first cooked briefly on the stovetop, before being put in a thermos to finish cooking. Thermos cooking results in tender, evenly-cooked beans. This technique is efficient on fuel, and the beans can be left unattended once in the thermos. To make the equivalent of a 400g tin of beans, start with 110g dried beans.
What you'll need: 
110g dried beans
2 teaspoons salt
Water as needed
Good quality wide-mouth thermos, approximately 700ml capacity
The day before you want to cook the beans, dissolve salt in 750ml cold water. Put beans and salt water in a covered container, and leave until the next day. If your kitchen is very warm, put the container in the refrigerator; in a cool kitchen, it can be left on the countertop.
The following morning, half-fill a medium size saucepan with water and bring to the boil. In addition, boil 700ml (or thermos capacity) of water in a kettle for preheating the thermos.
Drain soaked beans and add them to the boiling water in the saucepan. Lower heat to keep beans at a gentle boil, skimming off any foam that forms on top. The saucepan may be partially covered, but be careful as it will be prone to foaming up and overflowing.
Meanwhile, preheat thermos by filling with boiling water from the kettle, then screw on cap and set aside.
Boil beans for 20-30 minutes. Near the end of the cooking time, bring 600ml (or slightly less than thermos capacity) of water to boil in a kettle.
When kettle water is boiling, drain thermos of water, and drain beans in a sieve. Transfer beans to thermos, and top with fresh boiling water to within one inch of the top. Cap thermos. It is also helpful to cover thermos top with a folded kitchen towel secured with a rubber band to ensure no heat escapes through the top.
Let beans stand for about 10 hours. After this time, the beans should be perfectly cooked. If they are not, perhaps because the beans are somewhat old, they can be put back into the thermos with fresh boiling water to finish cooking, or simply finished on the stovetop.
Makes approximately 240g cooked beans, the equivalent of a 400g tin of beans, drained.
It's very important to purchase a good quality, wide-mouth thermos which is capable of keeping food hot for 12 or more hours. Cheaper thermoses will not retain heat well, and the beans will not cook properly. A Stanley widemouth flask food jar is an example of a good quality thermos.
It is a myth that salt toughens beans; on the contrary, using a salt soak results in a more tender end result.


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