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For each 1/2 cup soaked beans, do the following:
1) Put the beans in a large pot and add 4 cups water.
2) Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that forms on the surface.
3) Turn down the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until you can pierce the beans with a knife. This will take anywhere from an hour (kidney beans, pinto beans, chickpeas) to an hour and 40 minutes (black beans, white beans).
Note: To cook lentils, refer to specific recipes.