Step 2: Bean tenderizer.

Picture of Bean tenderizer.
There has to be a way to cut down on the cooking time of beans and other legumes.  Some people say it can cut down flatulence. Not found that to be true for us. Here the baking soda acts like an abrasive and reacts with the beans to release the sugar in the beans, therefore making them softer.  (picture is of lentils cooked with baking soda.)

Rinse your beans to remove any dirt or plant debris.
Place the beans in a large pot. (A heavy pot that will retain heat works best)
Fill the pot with water so that the beans are covered by about 3 inches of water.
Add 1/8 teaspoon. of baking soda per cup of water.
Boil the beans vigorously for about 5 minutes.
Simmer slowly for the remainder of the cooking time, adding water as necessary. (I usually just cover and turn off the heat but leave the pot on the stove)
Cooking time varies depending on the type of beans you are cooking.
Follow the directions on the beans' packaging.
Plan on cooking them about 1/3 less than the indicated directions, as the baking soda will help them cook faster.