28 November 2006

Help! I oversalted my beans!

I really did and I need to know how to counteract the saltiness! It all started last week. I have bags and bags of pinto and black beans in my pantry. Last week I decided to be frugal and instead of buying beans for our bi-weekly mexican food night I thought I'd make them myself. So Monday night I stuck the beans in a pot with the required amount of water and let them soak overnight. The next morning--not as early as I should have--I turned on the heat and cooked them.

I was watching another little girl at the time and probably had the heat up a little too high, because about 45 minutes into cooking time, I smelled burning. Oh crap! I ran into the kitchen and grabbed the pot off the stove. The smell was horrible! When I dumped out the beans there was a 1/4 inch thickness of burnt blackness at the bottom of my pot. I thought my good pan was ruined forever! Luckily after much scrubbing and boiling vinegar in the pot--really--all the black spots came off.

I wasn't sure I wanted to make beans again, but last night I decided to do it again. This time I actually didn't burn the beans and they actually cooked pretty well. Then it came time for seasoning. I added some salt, some chili powder, garlic and cumin. Then I tasted it and it just needed more salt. So I put more in. Then it was TOO salty! Now I'm not one to know how to cook without a recipe. If you give me a recipe with measurements I can pretty much pull off whatever I'm trying to cook. But if you tell me to cook by taste, anything could happen, as we saw today.

Tonight I decided I would just eat the beans anyway. I made a couple burritos with guacamole, sour cream, cheese, lettuce and the salty beans. I made it through the first one before I could not take any more and scraped the beans off the second one. Luckily Spencer wasn't home to taste the horridness of the beans.

Anyone know how I can counteract the saltiness of the beans so they are edible? I don't want to throw another bag of beans down the sink. Or maybe I should just give up on bean cooking and leave that to Rosarita.


Shawn Dowler said...

I'm not clear on what you want, so I will answer both possibilities.

Possibility 1: You want to make your currently oversalted beans less salty.
Only chemists can remove the salt from the beans. Adding more is almost always easier than taking some away. The only real possibility in this case is to make more beans that aren't seasoned and mix them together, but even that is not a guarantee because the saltiness is probably infused into each individual bean.

Possibility 2: You want tips so future batches don't get too salty. The answer here is: go slowly. Don't add a teaspoon at a time. Add a tine little pinch or just a single dash. Stir, taste, repeat until just the right amount of saltiness is achieved. Remember, you don't want to taste the salt, you want to taste the beans. Salt is a flavor enhancer when used in the right quantities.

Sorry if there are too "common sense," but the only sense I've got is the "common" variety.

jesse said...

Make your beans in a pressure cooker. after an hour when they are done, take out some of the juice with some of the beans and flavor that part in a seperate pan. That pan becomes your overflavorful part and then you mix it in till you get it just right.