Why use Dried Beans over Canned beans?
There is certainly an element of convenience in cracking open a can of beans to cook with. There are however some distinct advantages to using dried beans. More robust flavour and texture, freshness (quite a lot of our legumes are grown in Australia) and of course potentially no waste when you buy from a bulk food store!
To soak or not to soak?
The idea behind soaking is to soften the seed coat which ultimately reducing the end cooking time and reduces some of the less desirable flatulent effects of the bean. Below is a table that includes soaking guidance and length of time to soak. If you want to skip the soak without extending your cook time, though, there's no better tool for the job than a pressure cooker.
Should you salt the soaking water?
"For the best, creamiest, most flavorful beans, season your bean-soaking water with one tablespoon of salt per litre, rinse the beans with fresh water before cooking, then add a pinch of salt to the cooking water as well." Kenji from Serious Eats.
Tips and hints.
Use aromatics, like onion, garlic, and herbs, in your cooking liquid—they'll transform any pot of beans into something far more flavorful.
One cup of dried beans yields about 2 ½ -3 cups of cooked beans. Make more than you need for one recipe and freeze the extra beans in 1- or 2-cup amounts.
In addition to soaking adding herbs like lemon balm, fennel, and caraway, or combining cooked legumes with an acidic food, might also help prevent flatulence.