How to Cook Black Beans

If you grew up eating cooked black beans from a can, you may never have considered cooking dried black beans instead. They’re a great choice, though.

Dried beans are inexpensive and don’t come with all the salt that’s added to canned beans. Either way, black beans are high in fiber, contain no fat and are a great source of protein.

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You can add them to soups, salads, stews, chili or burritos. You can even make black bean brownies!

If you’re up for a few steps beyond opening a can, we’ll tell you how to cook black beans.

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To Soak or Not to Soak?

Most recipes call for soaking black beans (or any dried beans) before you cook them. Soaking beans softens them, allowing them to cook faster. Plus, it removes some of the sugars that are hard to digest and cause gas.

But you don’t have to soak the beans first if you don’t have time, or just plain forgot. In fact, some people prefer the texture, flavor and color of beans cooked without any soaking.

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How to Soak Black Beans

Rinse the black beans in a colander or fine-mesh strainer, looking for any small stones to remove.

You can use a long-soaking method or a quick soak.

For the long-soaking method, add the black beans to a pot with three cups of water for every cup of beans. Soak them for 8-12 hours, covered, at room temperature, then drain and rinse them in a colander.

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For the quick-soaking method, use five cups of water for each cup of beans. Add the water and beans to a pot, place over high heat on the stove and bring to a boil.

When the water is boiling, cover the pot, turn off the heat and remove the pot from the stove. Soak the beans for one hour, then drain and rinse them in a colander.

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How to Cook Black Beans

Once your black beans are soaked or simply rinsed, you have a few options for cooking them. You can make them on the stove, in a slow cooker or in a pressure cooker.

  • Stove: Place soaked beans in a pot and cover them with water so it reaches two inches above the beans. Heat on high until the pot comes to a boil.

Lower a bit and simmer the beans for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally and checking to make sure there is enough water in the pot. Drain the beans when they’re cooked.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos Image

  • Slow Cooker: For slow cooker black beans, add your beans, spices, garlic and/or onions to the Crock-Pot, along with water or stock. You’ll need 3 ½-to-4 cups of liquid for a pound of beans. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 7-8 hours, until the beans are as soft as you like them.

  • Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot): Use ¾ cup of water for every cup of dried beans you started with, even if you soaked them. If using soaked black beans, you can pressure cook them for just 4-6 minutes, then do a natural release.

If using unsoaked, dried beans, you’ll need to pressure cook them for 25 minutes before using a natural release. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions for your pressure cooker.

Black Bean Couscous Salad Picture

How to Store Cooked Black Beans

Store cooked black beans in the refrigerator for up to five days. To freeze, portion out some cooled black beans in freezer-safe containers with enough cooking liquid to cover them. Freeze for up to three months.

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App Developer Panic Announces New $149 ‘Playdate’ Game System Coming in 2020

Panic, a company known for developing apps for iOS and macOS, today announced plans to enter the hardware market with the launch of the Playdate, a new handheld gaming system.

Playdate features an entirely unique design with a black and white display, d-pad, A+B buttons, and a crank on the side that’s designed to be similar to an analog stick.

The black and white 400 x 200 screen is not backlit, but it features a “crystal-clear image” and high reflectivity, which Panic says is “an aesthetic like no other.”

On the surface, it might be tempting to compare the screen to, say, the Game Boy. But Playdate’s display is quite different: it has no grid lines, no blurring, is extremely sharp and clear, and has much higher resolution. It sounds odd to say, but: it’s truly a “premium” black-and-white screen.

The pocketable gaming system, which is going to come in a bright and inviting yellow color, will feature pre-installed games from developers like Zach Gage, Shaun Inman, Bennett Foddy, and Keita Takahashi.

At launch, there will be 12 games included with the system, delivered one per week for a few months. Panic says the idea is to give gamers something to look forward to. Most of the games are going to be kept secret until launch, and additional games will be added in the future.

The Playdate comes equipped with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a USB-C port for charging, and a headphone jack.

Playdate is going to cost $149 when it becomes available for purchase in early 2020. Those interested in purchasing can sign up on the website to get notified when it’s ready for purchase. Stock will be limited at launch, so Panic recommends signing up.

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Hands-On With the New 4K 23.7-Inch LG UltraFine Display

Apple this week began stocking a new 4K 23.7-inch LG UltraFine Display, which replaces the original 21.5-inch 4K LG UltraFine Display that was pulled from retail stores and the online Apple Store earlier this year.

We picked up one of the new 23.7-inch UltraFine Displays and thought we’d check it out to see if it’s worth the $700 price point.

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The new 4K display looks quite similar to the prior-generation 4K and 5K UltraFine displays with a black plastic body with relatively thick bezels and a black aluminum stand. Like prior models, it can be VESA mounted if you prefer.

It’s larger than the original 4K UltraFine display as it measures in at 23.7 inches instead of 21.5 inches, but it features a 3840 x 2160 resolution rather than a 4096 x 2304 resolution like the first model. That’s still considered Ultra HD, though, and qualifies as 4K.

Though this display has a 4K resolution, it’s not meant to be used at the full 3840 x 1260 resolution given its 23.7-inch display size because everything on the display would be super small. Instead, it’s meant to provide retina clarity when downscaled to a more reasonable resolution like 1920 x 1080 or 2560 x 1440, which is what we have it set to.

Along with the larger display size, the new UltraFine Display features two Thunderbolt 3 ports instead of a single Thunderbolt 3 port, which means you can daisy chain two of these monitors together. We didn’t have a second on hand, but used daisy chaining with a different 4K LG display, which worked well.

You can also connect other Thunderbolt 3-enabled accessories directly to the display if preferred, and there are also three additional USB-C ports. Both a Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C cable are included. There’s no webcam, but there are built-in stereo speakers available, much like the prior version of the LG UltraFine displays available from Apple.

The display is crisp and vivid, rivaling the Retina display on Apple’s Macs, and we liked the high gloss finish despite the fact that it tends to add more glare. With 500 nits brightness, it’s fairly bright, and because it has P3 wide color support, all the colors are rich and true to life.

All in all, we came away with a positive impression of this display. Since you can daisy chain two of them together, it might be nice to have two of them if you can given the smaller size and the $700 price point, which is half of the price of the 5K UltraFine display.

With the 4K LG UltraFine Display having been replaced, Apple may also have a replacement for the 5K UltraFine monitor on the horizon. The 5K monitor is sold out on Apple’s site right now, though the listing for it hasn’t been removed entirely.

Apple is also planning to get back into displays with rumors suggesting a 31.6-inch 6K display is in the works and set to be released alongside a new Mac Pro that’s coming this year. Unfortunately, Apple’s 6K display is rumored to be super pricey, so it may be out of range for a lot of Mac users who will instead need to rely on other options like the UltraFine displays from LG.

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