Soaking methods: to 1 lb (about 2 cups) of beans add 8 cups of hot water. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Or let stand in 8 cups cold water overnight for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse beans.
Cooking directions: add 6 cups water to drained and rinsed beans. Simmer gently with a lid until desired tenderness is reached, about 1-2 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste. Salt pork, ham, or bacon may be added during cooking for extra flavor. Add acidic ingredients such as tomatoes, vinegar, wine, or citrus juice only at end of cooking, once beans are tender.