Alberta Pulse Growers

Cooking & Storing Pulses

Cooking & Storing Pulses

Pulses come in both canned and dried forms and can be found in most grocery stores. Canned pulses are pre-cooked and ready to eat, though they should be rinsed to remove any extra sodium. Dried pulses require a bit more attention when it comes to storing, soaking, and cooking them, but the extra effort can pay off.

Keep these things in mind when buying and storing dried pulses:

  • Choose dried pulses that are uniform in colour, size, and shape.
  • Store dried pulses in containers in a cool, dark place.
  • Use dried pulses within one year of purchase to ensure the highest quality possible.

How to Soak Dried Pulses

Soaking pulses is an easy extra step when you're cooking with dried pulses. When soaking pulses, keep these things in mind:

  • Soak dried beans, whole dried peas, and dried chickpeas prior to cooking. Split peas and lentils don't need to be soaked, but should be rinsed.
  • Pick through dried pulses before soaking or cooking to remove any shriveled or broken seeds and any debris, including pebbles.
  • Discard the soaking water and rinse the pulses prior to cooking.
  • Cook pulses with fresh water, as the soaking water may not be clean.

Follow these soaking instructions, courtesy of Pulse Canada, for dried beans, whole dried peas, and dried chickpeas.

Method Instructions
Long Cold Soak or Overnight Let stand 12 hours or overnight in refrigerator.
Quick Soak Bring pulses and water to boil in a saucepan and boil gently for two minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for one hour.
Microwave Soak Combine pulses and water in a suitable microwave casserole dish, cover, and microwave on high for 10 to 15 minutes. Let stand for one hour.

For each method, add 3 cups (750 mL) of water for every 1 cup (250 mL) of pulses.

How to Cook Pulses

Dried pulses will need to be cooked before you eat them, either on the stove, in a slowcooker, or in a pressure cooker. One cup (250 mL) of dry pulses will yield around two to three times more cooked pulses. 

When cooking pulses, keep these things in mind:

  • Use a large saucepan, as pulses will double or triple in volume after cooking.
  • Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the pulses are tender but not mushy. To check for doneness, taste the pulses; they should be tender, with no "raw" taste.
  • Add acidic ingredients, including vinegar and tomatoes, only after the pulses are already tender, as these can slow the cooking process.

Follow these cooking instructions, courtesy of Pulse Canada, for dried pulses:

Pulse Soaking Required Cooking Time
Beans yes 45 to 60 minutes
Whole Peas yes 1 to 1 1/2 hours
Split Peas no 40 to 45 minutes
Green Lentils no 30 to 45 minutes
Split Red Lentils no 10 to 15 minutes
Chickpeas yes 1 to 1 1/2 hours

Cooking times may vary, so keep an eye on the pulses as they cook.

Cooked pulses will store in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for several months. To freeze cooked pulses, let the pulses cool and store in plastic bags or containers in serving sizes that will make them easy to add to your favorite meals.

How to Purée Pulses

Puréed pulses can be used in a variety of recipes, including baked goods and smoothies. To purée pulses, place cooked or rinsed and drained canned pulses into a food processor, add ¼ cup hot water for every 1 cup of cooked pulses, and purée until the mixture is smooth, adding more water in small amounts to reach desired consistency, similar to baby food, about 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl as needed. Unused purée can be frozen and kept for several months in the freezer.