Four basic steps to prepare pulses
1. Sort
2. Rinse
3. Soak
4. Cook

1. Sort
– It’s convenient to sort the pulses and eliminate any soil, pebbles or foreign material.

2. Rinse
– Place the pulses in a sieve and rinse under cold water. Pulses are not washed before they are packed. Discard any broken or damaged pulses.

3. Soak
– This is a very important step. It reduces the cooking time and the oligosaccharides that produce flatulence are eliminated.
The skin has oligosaccharides, a molecule that contains other molecules of simple sugars like galactose. The bacteria in the colon transform them into gases like carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane.

Pulses double or triple their volume. It’s convenient to soak them overnight (8 to 10 hours) and cover them with an amount of water three times the pulse volume. Soaking is usually done at room temperature, but if it’s too hot (over 25ºC) it’s advisable to put them in the refrigerator to avoid fermentation.  Discard any pulse that is floating they might have a whole with dirt inside.

Two methods for beans:
Quick soaking method

-. Place the beans in a large pan and cover with four parts of water for each part of beans
-. Heat the pan until the water begins to boil, let it boil for 2 to 3 minutes.
-. Remove the pan from the heat, and let stand for one hour
-. Discard the soaking water.
-. Rinse with cold water.

Traditional soaking method
– . Place the beans in a large pan and add four parts of water for each part of beans
-. Soak for about 8 hours.
-. Discard the soaking water.
-. Rinse with cold water

Use the “Traditional method” for the other pulses. In the case of lentils, soaking is not necessary but it’s advisable, they will be more digestible.

4. Cooking

Do not cook different types of pulses at the same time. Each one has a different cooking time. Usually they take between 1h 30min and two hours and 20-30 minutes in a pressure cooker.

When they begin to boil remove the foam, it might contain foreign material.

– Salt and acid ingredients
It’s advisable to add salt, tomato, lemon juice or other acid ingredients when the pulses are almost done, otherwise the cooking time might be longer.
A few drops of lemon juice at the end of the cooking time diminish the earthy taste of some varieties of lentils.
A tablespoon of olive oil added to pulses when cooking will reduce the amount of foam and also boiling-over.

– Pressure cooker
The cooking time is reduced, but also the flavor.

– Bicarbonate
Adding bicarbonate either during the soaking or cooking will give pulses a softer texture, but it will destroy part of the thiamine and it will be more difficult to assimilate the amino acids. Bicarbonate affects negatively the nutritional value of pulses.

-Hot or cold water?
When cooking beans add periodically small amounts of cold water to the pot, they will be softer and the skin won’t break. Do not over-cook otherwise they will lose nutrients, texture, color and flavor.
When cooking chickpeas the water has to be hot. Add the chickpeas to the pot when the water is hot.

– Cooking time
It’s difficult to determine the exact time of cooking time, there are many variables: variety, harvest time, water hardness, altitude, freshness, size…

If you are going to use the pulses in salads, later in a stew, or freeze them, they should be “al dente”.

Follows the approximate cooking time for some types of pulses:
• Lentils                               40 – 50 minutes
• Quick-cooking lentils     30 minutes
• Split lentils                       30 minutes
• Beans                                50 to 60 minutes
• Chickpeas                        60 to 90 minutes
• Split peas                         40 to 50 minutes

– Kombu seaweed

This seaweed has glutamic acid that softens the pulses fiber, it reduces the cooking time and helps make pulses more digestible, as it breaks down the enzimes that cause the gas feeling. It also adds some minerals and vitamins.
Just add ten centimeters of this plant when cooking pulses and remove it at the end of the cooking process.

Keeping Pulses
– Dry Pulses
In general dry pulses can be easily stored, they are a “non-perishable” product, but it’s convenient to store them in air-tight containers in a dark cool place. To ensure the highest quality it’s advisable to consume them within one year of purchase.

– Pre-cooked pulses
Cooked pulses can be kept in the refrigerator up to three days, first they have to be cooled and placed in a covered container.
If you prefer to freeze them, freeze them in portions and add use them when required. As an example, in most baked goods in, the amount of cooked pulses to be incorporated to the recipe is 200 gr.

Always label your frozen products indicating the name of the product and date when they were frozen. Pulses can be kept frozen for three months. Thaw them slowly at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.

Pulses in baked goods

Adding cooked pulses to breads, cakes or cookies is a great way to increase the amount of protein, fiber and humidity to the products.

There are many samples in, pulses are added as pulse flour or cooked pulses (just boiled with water), their flavor is not “found” when mixed with the rest of the ingredients.