Look the beans over carefully to remove all dirt and pebbles, then wash
clean. Soak them overnight in plenty of cold water. In the morning pour
off the water and put them in a stew-pan with cold water enough to cover
them generously. Let them come to the boiling point in this water, then
drain. If the beans are old and hard, for each quart put a piece of soda
about the size of a large bean in the water in which they are soaked
overnight, also in the first wate
in which they are boiled.
The scalded and drained beans should be put back in the stew-pan and
covered generously with boiling water. Add one tablespoon of salt for
one quart of beans. They should now cook slowly, with the cover
partially off the stew-pan until they have reached the required degree
of tenderness. For stewed and baked beans the cooking must stop when the
skins begin to crack. For beans served with a sauce they should cook
until perfectly tender, but they must not be broken or mushy. For purées
and soups they should be cooked until very soft.