Storing and Cooking Pulses

Dry pulses will keep for years if stored in tightly covered containers in a cool, dark, dry place. It is best to use pulses within a year of purchasing. The longer a pulse is stored, the drier it becomes, which increases the cooking time.

Canned pulses are very convenient as they are ready-to-use. Always rinse and drain canned pulses before using. Canned pulses store well in cool, dry places. They may be stored for up to one year.

Freezing tip

Cooked pulses can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. Separate cooked pulses into 1 or 2 cup (250 or 500 mL) portions and freeze in freezer bags or small containers. Cooking a big batch of pulses to freeze will save you time on delicious meals like soups, casseroles or other favourite dishes.

Soaking tips and methods

  • Be sure to check all dry pulses before rinsing or soaking. Remove pulses with shriveled or broken skins, and the occasional pebble or twig.
  • Dry beans, whole peas and chickpeas must be soaked because their skins do not readily absorb water.
  • Dry lentils and split peas do not need to be soaked. Rinse before cooking.

For every 1 cup (250 mL) of pulses, soak with 3 cups (750 mL) water. Whole peas can be soaked for 1-2 hours. Beans and whole chickpeas require longer soaking than whole peas (e.g. min. 4 hours or preferably soak for 8 hours or overnight).

Soaking method for dry pulses
Instructions
Long, cold soak or overnightLet stand 12 hours or overnight in refrigerator
Quick soak
  • Bring pulses and water to boil in a saucepan
  • Boil gently for 2 minutes
  • Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour
Microwave soak
  • Combine pulses and water in microwavable dish
  • Cover and microwave on high for 10-15 minutes
  • Let stand for 1 hour

Always discard the soaking water by putting pulses into a strainer and rinsing them well. This washes away the carbohydrates and sugars that cause gas.

Cooking tips and methods

  • Make sure your saucepan is big enough, as pulses double or triple in size during cooking.
  • To prevent foaming, add 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of oil to the cooking water.
  • Seasonings like garlic, onion or herbs can be added while cooking pulses.
  • Always cook pulses slowly, as cooking them too quickly can break the seed coats.
 
Beans
Whole Peas
Split Peas
Whole Lentils
Splits Lentils
Whole Chickpeas
Split Chickpeas
RinseYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
SoakYesYesNoNoNoYesNo
Amount of water per 1 cup (250 ml) dry pulses2½-3 cups
(625 to 750 ml)
2½-3 cups
(625 to 750 ml)
2 cups
(500 ml)
2½-3 cups
(625 to 750 ml)
2 cups
(500 ml)
2½-3 cups
(625 to 750 ml)
2 cups
(500 ml)
Cooking time1-1½ hrs.1½-2 hrs.45 min.10-30 min.5-15 min.1½-2 hrs.½-1 hrs.
Pressure cook time (at 15 psi)*8-12 min.5-7 min.NoNoNo12-15 min.5-7 min.
Yield from 1 cup (250 ml) dry pulses2½ cups
(625 ml)
2½ cups
(625 ml)
2 cups
(500 ml)
2½ cups
(625 ml)
2 cups
(500 ml)
2½ cups
(625 ml)
2 cups
(500 ml)

Pulse purée

Purées are useful for dips and some baked foods.

To make a purée:

  • Place cooked or rinsed and drained canned pulses into a food processor or blender.
  • For every 1 cup (250 mL) cooked pulses, add ¼ cup (50 mL) water.
  • Blend to make a smooth purée, with a consistency like canned pumpkin.
  • If needed, add additional water 1 tablespoon (15 mL) at a time.
  • Purées can be frozen in plastic bags or containers and kept for several months in the freezer.

Pulse flours

Pulse flours can be found in some grocery stores, bulk food stores and ethnic or specialty markets. Bean flour and chickpea flour are more commonly available. Pulse flours can be used in a variety of recipes including cakes, muffins and cookies. Pulse flours can be used for gluten-free recipes or to boost levels of fibre.

Pulses: Cooking With Beans, Peas, Lentils, and Chickpeas

This free recipe booklet includes information on the types of pulses grown in Canada, their nutritional benefits and explains how to cook with them. It includes 30 recipes that feature whole pulses and pulse ingredients. Download your free pdf copy here.

PULSES and the Gluten-Free Diet Cooking with Beans, Peas, Lentils and Chickpeas

In addition to our successful Pulses: Cooking With Beans, Peas, Lentils, and Chickpeas, we have compiled fabulous recipes for a Gluten Free Diet. Download your free pdf copy here.