Safely Cooking beans in a pressure cooker : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

When reading the instructions on my new pressure cooker, I was disappointed to find that cooking beans is "never reccomended", because they tend to foam and block the vent, and then, look out!

However, on a cheaper pressure cooker I saw, they say as long as the beans are not spit, you can soak them overnight in (2 cups beans) water with 1/4 cup oil, and 1 tbs. salt and this will minimize foaming.

Anybody got experience with this? My cooker is an All American pressure canner.

-- beans, beans (goodfor@the.heart), April 10, 1999


uh, I meant split, not spit..

-- beans (b@b.b), April 10, 1999.

I have fond memories of the day my mother did lima beans in her pressure canner. The pressure valve (that round thingie) blew off and sprayed lima beans all over the kitchen ceiling.

Today I am canning 60 lbs of chicken in my two All American pressure canners. One old, one new. Bought new pressure meter and valve for the old one, it works fine.

Chicken quarters are 29 cents a lb this week at Lucky (West Coast only?) 60 lbs of chicken, boneless, works out to about 14 quart jars of meat, about that in chicken juice, and about 10 half pint jars of chicken fat. Takes about nine hours.

Will have beans for dinner, anyway.

-- Mary (, April 10, 1999.

Kewl - I am canning beef in a thin barbecue sauce today. Did ham last week with thin sauce of pineapple cloves and raisins. (Will probably be pretty strong.) Did the chicken quarters two weeks ago. Have son who will have difficulty without meat. Suggest you make chicken stock too. It will make good gravy and sauces and flavor beans and rice.

Also bought thirty pounds of frozen berrys and made preserves last month.

Good canning site is

Did find after buying replacement parts for my 20 year old pressure canner, that the cost was about the same as a new one.

-- marsh (, April 10, 1999.

Beans are no problem to cook. I do lima's in mine all the time. It is important to keep the level of the liquid in the cooker to only about 1 to 1 1/2 cups (or so...). Soaking them is a good idea also and the oil does help a lot with the foaming. I think folks use too much liquid and cause these problems themselves.

You can also go half-way. That is cook the beans a reduced amount of time, set the cooker off the heat and let the pressure drop. Once the pressure is down, remove the lid and continue cooking the 'pot that was formally known as a pressure cooker...'. This method isn't as fast as a complete cooking under pressure but it will significantly reduce the total cook time. And reduce any worries about repaving the ceiling... :)

-- x (, April 10, 1999.

I have unfond memories of the day I cooked navy beans in a pressure cooker. I'll bet that apartment still has a brown stain on the ceiling. It also sprayed bean juice all over the clean dishes in the drainer. My advice: don't cook beans in the pressure cooker.

-- Pearlie Sweetcake (, April 10, 1999.

Try using a fireless box {insulated box}. Bring the pressurer cooker to full pressure and place the pressure cooker into your insulated box , put an insulated lit on top and close the box. Eight to ten hours later the pressure cooker is still hot, the food is cooked and ready to eat hot when you want to eat it. P.S. Made my insulated box out of a large cardboard box and starifoam. Custom foarmed the starifoam to fit the pressure cooker. Lined the staridoam with foil. Did the same for the top,leaving a space for the special pressure weight. Really reduces amount of energy needed to cook. The food is cooked very quickly and will stay hot for 8 to 10 hours.

-- thinkIcan (, April 10, 1999.

Hubby made me what I call a "bush box" or "outback oven". The pot, which I have found a Visions casserole dish to do the best job, sits in insulated box. Our box is plywood with 6 inches of styrofoam all the way around. I don't even soak my beans. Throw beans into a pot along with onion, ham and whatever esle you like, bring to a rolling boil and then put into the box (with lid on casserole dish) Our box takes about 8 hours, but I usually take it out in the afternoon and quickly bring to boil again and put back into box until dinner. Believe me, you will need pot holders!! As our box sits out on the porch, hubby tied two bricks together with a string handle. These are kept in the solar oven which sits out on the patio all of the time. Thus the bricks are usually hot and I put them into the bush box to preheat it. I use my solar oven and bush box all the time. Why pay for and use unnecessary electricity? For some reason, the corn bread baked in solar oven does not raise as much but seems to have more flavor. Hubby still working on his solar oven prototype as he wants to get it so it will get up to 400 degrees. Right now about 260 seems to be tops. I use it all the time to make tuna/catfish candles and hobo stoves. This week I am going to brown a pot roast, put in veggies and fluid, bring to a boil and put into the bush box and see what we get. Might be one hell of a mess! LOL Old Git, I wish you would send me your email address to

-- Taz (, April 10, 1999.

Mr. Yourdon comments on April 1 rollover

asked in the TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Q&A Forum ---------- Mr. Yourdon writes a weekly Y2K column for some outfit called Cutter Consortium. He wrote one of these columns about the April 1 rollover, and a friend passed it along to me. Not sure if it's kosher to post it here on his forum, but I figure that what goes around comes around...



Welcome to the Y2000 E-Mail Advisor, a weekly electronic briefing from Ed Yourdon, Director of the Cutter Consortium's Y2000 Advisory Service.


It's now been a week since New York, Canada, and Japan celebrated the beginning of their new fiscal year; as I write this week's column, the British government is going through the same process. Thus far, it appears that there have been no significant Y2000 problems, and Y2000 pundits are now trying to decide what it all means.

Unfortunately, much of the discussion has degenerated into petty bickering between the Y2000 optimists and pessimists (or, to use the more disparaging terms, pollyannas and doomsayers). The pessimists may have been hoping that dramatic Y2000 problems would emerge in Ottawa, Tokyo, London, or Albany in order to validate their predictions about Y2000, or to at least raise the level of awareness about potential problems looming ahead in the next few months. And the optimists may have been hoping that the lack of 1 April problems would prove, once and for all, that the pessimists' predictions were grossly exaggerated.

I found myself dragged into the fray when a participant on the Internet forum reminded his fellow participants shortly after 1 April that I had written a grumpy article last July (available at in which I said "On April 1, 1999, we will all watch anxiously as the governments of Japan and Canada, as well as the state of New York, begin their 1999-2000 fiscal year; at that moment, the speculation about Y2K will end, and we will have tangible evidence of whether governmental computer systems work or not." It was suggested that I should "put up or shut up": unless there was tangible evidence of Y2000 problems resulting from the fiscal year rollovers, I should acknowledge that Y2000 isn't going to be such a bad problem after all.

Well, maybe it won't be -- and if that's the case, we should all rejoice. After all, we're all on the same side, in terms of our desires for a best-case Y2000 outcome, even if our current assessments of the situation may differ. I'm happy to agree with the notion that the fiscal year rollover success enjoyed by New York, Canada, and Japan -- coupled with the similar experiences enjoyed by the Eurocurrency projects, as well as the absence of catastrophic rollover problems on 1 January 1999 -- means that there is less reason than before to assume that Y2000 will lead to TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it). But I never believed in the TEOTWAWKI scenario in the first place, and I still think there's an enormous amount of potential for moderate disruptions between the "bump in the road" scenario predicted by the optimists, and the apocalyptic TEOTWAWKI scenario articulated by the doomsayers.

Looking back on the words I wrote last July, I do regret having said "at that moment, the speculation about Y2K will end," because it has become evident that there is still much to speculate about. The most significant aspect of speculation involves embedded systems: regardless of whatever problems the various government authorities might have had with their financial computing systems on 1 April or their Eurocurrency systems back in January, none of it involves the embedded systems. We still don't know how that part of the Y2000 story will unfold, and we continue to be whipsawed between optimism and pessimism as we see each new report indicating that embedded systems failures are worse than -- or, according to the next report, less serious than -- what we previously believed. Y2000 optimists and pessimists will continue arguing passionately about the presence or absence of life-threatening embedded system failures until much later this year -- indeed, possibly right up to midnight on New Year's Eve.

It's also fairly clear that a fiscal-year rollover phenomenon only concerns those computer systems that are aware of the concept of a fiscal year, and that make use of that concept in their decision- making and/or calculations. Thus, there are almost certain to be a wide range of computing systems within a government organization that are date-sensitive, and potentially noncompliant, but which are completely unaffected by the fact that the organizational entity has moved into a new fiscal year that extends from 1 April 1999 to 31 March 2000.

But let's put these two categories of systems aside for the moment, and focus on the heart of the debate: what can we conclude from the apparent fact that FY-sensitive computing systems in the Canadian, Japanese, and New York State governments appear to have survived the 1999-2000 rollover event?

The optimistic interpretation is fairly obvious: it means that appropriate remediation efforts on those systems were indeed finished on time, rather than falling behind schedule; and it means that the testing efforts were sufficiently thorough and comprehensive that no "show-stopper" bugs have appeared. And if that interpretation is correct, one might logically conclude that the government agencies will extend their success to the rest of their systems, and thus succeed in remediating and testing all of the other systems that would otherwise fail on 1 January 2000.

But this gets back to the issue of what I referred to as "tangible evidence" in my 1998 article. How do we know that New York State's mission-critical systems survived the fiscal-year rollover? Well, we have the governor's word for it: on 1 April, New York Governor George Pataki issued a press release (available at, which announced that "New York State's "mission critical" computer systems -- such as the state's payroll, general accounting, and tax systems -- that are dependent on the state's fiscal year have been remediated, tested, and are in production." Alas, we have become such a cynical nation that we're not entirely sure if we can trust such public statements; after all, we live in a nation where the meaning of truth is sometimes determined by what the meaning of "is" is. Thus, the Y2000 pessimists -- along with at least a few computer- illiterate cynics -- may seek their own evidence that the state's computer systems are working properly.

But it's likely that many computer problems that might have occurred on 1 April were simple enough that they could be fixed by computer programmers within a matter of hours, without the public ever becoming aware of the problem. True, this might have cost the taxpayers some money, and it may have caused an incremental, temporary decrease in the efficiency and productivity of the state government. But the reality is that if the problem is small enough -- or, to put it more cynically, if the problem is capable of being hidden and covered up -- then it doesn't qualify as "tangible evidence." If the citizens and taxpayers don't see it, it doesn't exist.

That seems to have been the experience with the Eurocurrency situation, and the FY-99 rollover experience. That's not to say that either of these two "trigger dates" were completely problem-free; a Eurocurrency problem with one of the French banks led to riots in Marseilles by welfare recipients who had not received their checks by mid-January 1999 (see 00bsGq&P4_FOLLOW_ON=/99/1/7/wrio07.html&pg=/et/99/1/7/wrio07.html

for details); and rumors abound of European banking difficulties with bungled deposits and funds transfers. And though the FY-99 rollover didn't lead to any catastrophes, there is no shortage of minor problems that have been reported (see for one such list).

But thus far, we have NO evidence of FY-00 rollover problems in Canada, New York, Japan, or England. It's worth remembering, though, that many of these problems -- if they exist at all -- may not show up until several "cycles" of processing have occurred, e.g., when monthly or quarterly reports have to be generated, or when several payrolls have been run. The cumulative effect of software errors -- sometimes referred to as the "Jo Anne Effect" problem among Y2000 cognoscenti -- may not be visible until numerous database records have been clobbered, or numerous end users have been affected.

And that will be the ultimate test: if FY rollover problems cause New York, England, or Canada to bungle the payment of pension checks to a hundred thousand retired civil-service workers, it won't be possible to hide the problem. We've already seen one such problem, though it's now attributed to human error rather than a Y2000 software bug: the recent fiasco that led the New Jersey state government to erroneously credit thousands of food-stamp recipients with an additional payment.

For whatever it's worth, the public acknowledgments of the 1 April situation by New York and Canadian Y2000 managers was cautious. A 2 April article in the *Los Angeles Times* (see quotes Jim Bimson of the Canadian Year 2000 office as saying, "So far it's been a nonevent. We haven't heard anything today, but I'm not that surprised since we really have to wait a while for some transactions to occur. Most of the computers are still working in the last fiscal year."

Meanwhile, it's also important to remember that Canada, Japan, England, and New York State are not finished with the systems that MUST work on 1 January 2000. A quick look at the "top 40" mission- critical systems in New York State (visible at, which shows the status as of January 1999) indicates that roughly half are not yet compliant.

Whether you're an optimist or a pessimist, it's important to remember that we still have several months before we'll really know how Y2000 will turn out. If you think of it as a 10-round boxing match, the optimists can claim to have won the first three rounds; but there are still several rounds to go.

-- 32356 (3@23.56), April 10, 1999.

There are 8 pints of chicken cooling on the kitchen table as I type this. The chicken was oh, a buck a pound, started with 10 pounds, less skin, then bones ended up with 6.85 pounds. Canned it with the stock it got cooked in, and the mirro recipe called for 75 min at 10 pounds. Got out the Alpaca kero wick stove and ran the qwhole thing in the basement. The cats have been going nutz with the smell of chicken. Gonna have to get a screen house and do this outside this summer, or the cats will be IMPOSSIBLE.

What, you ask is so much of a problem with imposible cats???

Consider that I have 12 feet of feline with a total weight in the 55 pound range.

(For the math challenged that's 3 cats, wt of 20, 20, and 15 respectively)


-- chuck, a etc. (, April 10, 1999.

The easy way is to put in dried beans, a few cups of water, some, ham, ect and then bring the cooker up to pressure. Once it is fully pressurized, 8-12 minutes, remove it from the stove and place it on the counter or in a box wraped in a few blankets. Let sit for 2.5 to 3 hours and then its ready to eat. There are no split beans, they are warm and fully cooked. Best of all it uses little fuel and the steam release spot will not get plugged. Once its off the stove no one has to watch it either. It works great.

-- smfdoc (, April 11, 1999.

This has been a very funny thread, "beans on the ceiling," and informative too (solarr boxes). I'd like to recommend my favorite book, "Cooking Under Pressure" by Lorna J. Sass--good recipes too.

Sure wish 32356??? go cook some "spit beans, " or sit in some cold water until the pressure was reduced in his vessel.

-- gilda jessie (, April 11, 1999.

Gilda--- Does that cook book you recommend have any bread recepies that can be made it the pressure cooker.

-- thinkIcan (, April 11, 1999.

thinkIcan, I checked my book and there weren't any bread recipes. Actually I'd never heard of such a thing, but it certainly sounds intriguing.

-- gilda jessie (, April 11, 1999.

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