Haricots Snow Cap / USA
Snowcap beans retain their striking colours and patterns when cooked and have a pleasantly dense potato-like texture. Like all dried beans, snowcap beans must be pre-soaked, boiled in fresh water for ten minutes and then cooked slowly until tender. This cooking method is important – beans contain toxins which may concentrate in the soaking water and which are only destroyed in the beans themselves through being held at 100°C for 10 minutes
To quick-soak, add rinsed and picked through beans to boiling water. Return to a boil and boil for two minutes. Remove from the heat and soak for one hour. To cook, add the drained beans to fresh boiling water.
Return to a boil, boil for ten minutes. Lower the heat and simmer until tender. Salt toughens the skin of beans – adding it at the beginning results in tough beans; not adding until the end results in mushy and under seasoned beans; adding it partway through the cooking process results in properly seasoned beans that are tender but still hold together.
Mexicans often add epazote when cooking beans – the unique flavour and fragrance of epazote is complementary & the herb prevents flatulence. In Asia, kombu (kelp) is used for the same reasons.