Food & Health

Cooking Dry Pulses

Dried pulses are available pre-packaged or in the bulk food section of most supermarkets. When buying dried pulses, look for seeds that are brightly coloured and uniform in size with a smooth appearance. Although dry pulses will keep years if stored in tightly covered containers in a cool, dark, dry place, it is best to use them within one year of purchase. The longer a pulse is stored, the drier it becomes which increases its cooking time.

Pulses can be cooked on the stove top, in a slow cooker or pressure cooker, and for certain recipes such as baked beans, in the oven. Regardless of method used, acidic ingredients (such as tomatoes and vinegar) should be added only when the pulses are already tender, as acids and salt slow down the cooking process. However, seasonings such as garlic, onion and herbs may be added to the cooking water right from the beginning.

Some recipes suggest adding baking soda to help soften pulses. This is not recommended as baking soda may make the pulses too soft.

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