Do you live above sea level? That may be part of why your beans are taking a long time to cook! Elevation has been shown to lengthen the cooking time of beans, with samples cooking (much more) quickly at lower elevations.
For this study, they pretty much squished beans between their fingers every 10 minutes or so to see when they were done. Ever wondered about a more objective way to test cooking time for beans? It does exist! One pretty cool way is to use a Mattson cooker.
If you are looking to shorten cooking time, here are some ideas:
- Soak your beans first
- Add sodium chloride (aka salt – could be sea salt, table salt, kosher salt, etc.) or baking soda (aka sodium bicarbonate) to the soaking water
It’s also worth noting that cooking in hard water (i.e., water with a high mineral content) can slow down the cooking time of beans. Storage conditions and time also matters! Beans do have a long shelf-life, but if they have been stored for a very long time and/or in poor conditions (e.g., too hot, too humid), they can take a long time to cook and may become almost impossible to soften.