Step 1. Soak
Put beans in a pot and cover them in a few inches of water. Put the whole thing in the fridge overnight. You can also quick soak beans and get a similar effect. Just put those beans in a pot, cover them with water, bring them up to a boil, and then cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let them sit for at least a half an hour in the hot water, drain them, and go from there.
Step 2. Simmer
When ready to cook, grab those beans from the fridge, drain them, and transfer them to another pot, then cover them in a few inches of water. Bring them to a simmer, avoiding a boil (which will make them fall apart). Salt the liquid lightly.
Step 3. Add the Extras (and Some Salt)
Add anything from onions, garlic, and chiles or maybe some fresh herbs like rosemary, sage, and thyme. Just stay away from acidic add-ins until the next step. Salt the liquid again (lightly) after about an hour of simmering.
Step 4. Simmer Again
After another 30 minutes to an hour, once your beans turn tender, turn off the heat, and season the cooking liquid to taste. This is where you salt heavily and add any acidic ingredients, like tomatoes or lemon juice. When you’re tasting for seasoning, you want to taste the broth rather than the beans themselves—it will take a little bit for the flavor of the broth to make its way into those little guys, which is why it’s important to let them hang out in their cooking liquid for a half an hour before eating them. If you’re planning on packing them up and storing them for later use, let them cool completely in their cooking liquid beforehand.
Step 5. Serve
Now you can add them to your recipe and serve, or you can save them. They’re perfect to pull out later for chili. Just throw them in a Tupperware in the fridge for dinner every night that week, or freeze them for future use. (Beans freeze very well)