Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Please select one of the categories below to view related questions and answers. If you can't find the answer to your questions, please contact us directly.

Our Products

Are any of your products genetically modified or contain GMO ingredients?

All of our dry beans are completely non-GMO. A few of our seasoning packet flavors have trace amounts of soy oils or a starch made from corn which could potentially come from GMO crops. The total amount in the seasonings would be very small.

Where are your beans grown?

We primarily buy from United States growers and do get some varieties occasionally from our Canadian neighbors.

Can I freeze uncooked beans?

It is not recommended to store dried beans in the freezer. Over time, the beans would lose adequate moisture and be unfit for cooking. Dried beans should be stored in a cool, dry area. Some people put beans in an airtight plastic container or mason jar. This also reduces the chance of pest infestation.

Can I make the original recipe without the ham hocks and ham flavoring, as a vegetarian soup instead?

Currently, none of our seasonings contain animal products. Therefore, you can use our entire line of products in vegetarian recipes with delicious results.

Do the beans go bad? What is their shelf life?

Dry beans go bad if they get wet (they'll grow into seeds) or become infested (they are produce and bugs do sometimes like them). When beans age, they lose moisture. The more moisture they lose, the harder they are to cook to tender. Our guideline is if you think the bag is over two years old, make sure the beans will cook to tender before you add the other ingredients.

Do you carry "Hallmark Beans?"

This variety used to be called marrowfat beans. They were raised commercially and well distributed. We haven't heard any talk of or dealing in them for years, and assume they may be grown as an heirloom variety only and would be extremely hard to find because they are no longer grown commercially.

Do you sell in bulk quantities?

Please contact us with the varieties you are looking for. Sometimes we do sell bulk beans directly to consumers, prices varying upon product.

I lost the spice packet for the 15 Bean Soup®. What spices should I use to flavor the soup?

If the seasoning packet was not included inside the bag, contact us with your street address. Please hold on to your package and we will send a return envelope with your sample so we may record the date/code number for training purposes.

In the meantime, for extra flavor, our resident chef suggests using bouillon cubes (in the meat flavor you prefer). You can also use an equal amount of chicken or beef stock instead of water. A great way to add flavor is to add you favorite vegetable and/or herb and experiment. The options are endless! Reach out and let us know how it turns out!

Do your seasoning packets contain any animal by-products?

There are no animal products in any of our seasonings.

What are the artificial flavorings in the ham packet, and do they contain chemicals that might be harmful?

All ingredients in the seasonings are listed on the packaging. Most ingredients are vegetable based or anti-caking products. At N.K. Hurst Co. we strive to provide complete and nutritious meals to our consumers. We do not add harmful chemicals to our products.

What is the shelf life of the dried beans?

We recommend that you only keep the beans for 18-24 months. If they are older than that, they are difficult to re-hydrate. There is a date code on the back of our HamBeens® products. These are the beans that have the seasoning packets inside. On the back of the bag, you will find a black number hand stamped onto the film. The number will read something like 128081. In this case, the product was packed on the 128th day of the year 2008. The last number 1 is the N.K. Hurst production line the product was packed on. For your convenience, we recently added a ‘Best By’ date on the package as well. Hopefully this will help you in determining the age of the beans you have.

Where is the expiration date on your products?

You should be able to find a "Best By" date on the back of your package. The month and year is stamped onto the package during production. This is a change that has occurred in the past year, so if you do not see a "Best By" date, this would indicate that you purchased the package some time ago. If you are unsure of the age of your beans, we suggest that you first soak and cook your beans to tender before adding any other ingredients.

Health & Nutrition

I have Celiac Disease and my doctor says I cannot eat anything containing wheat/gluten. What do you offer that is gluten free?

All of our seasonings are completely gluten free. All of our dry beans are naturally gluten free as well. We do occasionally package barley in our facility.

Are there any soybeans or pasta in any of your products? If so, which ones are free of soybeans and pasta? I am allergic to both.

Many of our seasonings contain a soy protein and are labeled if they do. We no longer package any pasta products. It is important to note that all of our products are packaged in the same facility and therefore have a small chance to come in contact with gluten during packaging.

Does your seasoning have MSG (monosodium glutamate)?

HFH seasonings have zero MSG.

HamBeens: There is no MSG added to any of our HamBeens® seasoning packets. However less than 2% of this element naturally occurs in the hydrolyzed soy protein included in most of our seasonings. Hydrolyzed soy protein is created by adding hydrochloric acid to soy beans, and heating. This breaks down the protein. Sodium hydroxide is then added to neutralize the acid. A natural byproduct of this process creates trace amounts of salt and glutamate. For a visual comparison: The amount, per serving, is so small that if you were to touch a pencil to paper and look at the dot created, it would still be smaller than that representation.

To sum up, MSG is not added to our products; however is a near negligible byproduct of hydrolyzed soy protein. If this is of concern to you, please feel free to leave out the seasoning packet and use your favorite herbs and spices.

I am allergic to flour and wheat. Is there any of this in your ham seasoning?

No. There is no flour or wheat in the ham seasoning. The maltodextrin is made from corn. All of the ingredients listed on the package include the contents of the beans and the seasoning packet, but not the "suggested" additions.

I am allergic to garlic. Is there any in the ham flavoring packet that comes with the 15 Bean Soup?

No. There is no garlic, in any form, in our ham seasoning.

I am allergic to potato products. Do the seasoning packets in your bean products contain potato or MSG (monosodium glutamate) which is derived partly from potato starch?

There are no potato starches in any of the NK Hurst Seasoning Blends.

I am extremely allergic to mustard. Your package states ‘spices and spice extract,’, is there any mustard in the seasoning packet?

No, there is no mustard in our ham seasoning. All ingredients are listed on the outside of the package.

My son is allergic to nuts. Is your 15 Bean Soup (chicken flavor) at risk of cross-contamination with nuts?

No, there are no nut products used in our seasonings. Our beans also do not come in contact with nuts at any time during harvest or packaging.

Cooking

What is a good crock pot/slow cooker recipe for 15 Bean Soup?

Try this recipe: Slow Cooker 15 BEAN SOUP®.

Can cooked 15 Bean Soup be frozen?

Absolutely. This is a product that freezes and keeps very well. You can fill Tupperware or freezer quality plastic bags and freeze them. It is best to use the leftovers within six months.

Can I use bacon or salt pork in your 15 Bean Soup as opposed to ham or smoked sausage?

Definitely, and the options are endless. Reach out and let us know how it turns out!

I live in an elevation of more than 3,000 feet. With the added condition of low humidity, following the suggested cooking times won’t work for me. How should I handle cooking times under these conditions?

Because of the elevation, the beans will take longer to cook. While we can’t tell you how much longer, covering the beans with a lid while cooking will help keep in moisture.

I made your 15 Bean Soup recipe and it is thick, not soup like. Is this the texture that it's supposed to be?

Our recipe results in a more "hearty" or thick soup. If you prefer more liquid, feel free to add a little more water. You may also wish to cover your soup with a lid when you reach desired thickness. Cooking without the lid (as recommended) helps to thicken the soup.

Is it necessary to soak the lentils prior to cooking your Confetti Lentil Soupreme™?

The lentil is small and the cooking time is sufficient in order to re-hydrate them, and it is not necessary to soak them prior to cooking. Don't forget to sort through the contents and rinse before cooking!

The recipe on the package calls for sausage, what kind do you recommend?

The type of sausage that you use in the recipe is entirely up to you. Some people use a pound of "hot" bulk sausage to give it that little extra kick. Others use smoked sausage links that come in a long rope. Slice and brown your chosen sausage with onion and garlic for added flavor.

What can be done to avoid foaming while cooking beans?

Adding 1 tablespoon of butter or salad oil for each cup of beans will help keep down the foam. You do not need to skim the foam off as it will cook its way into the beans.

Why do some of your recipes suggest adding the juice of 1 lemon?

People have asked in the past if we add the lemon to reduce the negative side effects (eliminate or reduce gas), but that is not the case. We recommend adding the lemon simply to enhance the flavor of the broth and to make the flavor more complex.

Why does the seasoning packet need to be added during the last few minutes of cooking? If I do it that way, I sometimes forget to add it. Couldn't I just add it to the soup along with the rest of the ingredients in the beginning?

We recommend adding the seasoning packet towards the end of cooking to get the most flavor in your final dish. If you would like to add earlier that is not a problem, but the seasoning flavor may not be as strong after cooking for several hours.

Do I have to soak the dry beans before cooking?

Over the years, we have always recommended to soak our beans prior to cooking. However, this is not absolutely necessary and on our Slow Cooker items we do not include soaking in the instructions on the package. Soaking is simply a way of beginning to rehydrate the dry beans and can also be done simply by cooking the beans with enough water/broth in the recipe. Remember that acidic ingredients like tomatoes and lemon juice should be added after the beans are already tender. This is especially true if you do not soak the beans prior to cooking.

Are the beans old when the skin becomes VERY wrinkled when I soak them?

No, if anything it shows the beans are not old. Beans that "wrinkle" are simply absorbing water.

Do the beans have to soak in the refrigerator or can they soak on the counter overnight?

If you are going to soak the beans for more than 8 hours, you should place them in the refrigerator. Leaving them out can result in mold growing in the water and you would notice a very strong, sour odor. Do not use the beans if this occurs.

How can I speed up the soaking process?

There are many ways to soak beans:

HOT SOAK: The Hot Soak is the recommended method for soaking beans, as it reduces actual cooking time and produces consistently tender beans.

  1. Place beans in a large pot and add 10 cups of water for every 2 cups of beans.
  2. Heat to boiling and boil for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Remove beans from heat, cover and let stand for 4 to 24 hours.
  4. Drain beans and discard soak water.
  5. Rinse beans with fresh, cool water.

TRADITIONAL SOAK

  1. Pour cold water over the beans to cover.
  2. Soak beans for 8 hours, or overnight (in the refrigerator).
  3. Drain beans and discard soak water. Cold water starts the rehydration process slowly so beans will appear wrinkled after soaking.
  4. Rinse beans with fresh, cool water.

QUICK SOAK

  1. Place beans in a large pot and add 6 cups of water for every 2 cups of beans.
  2. Bring to boil and boil for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Remove beans from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour.
  4. Drain beans and discard soak water.
  5. Rinse beans with fresh, cool water.

MICROWAVE SOAK

  1. Place beans in a large microwaveable dish and add 3 cups of water for every 1 cup of dry beans.
  2. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 15 minutes or until boiling.
  3. Remove from microwave and let stand for 1 hour.
  4. Drain beans and discard soak water.
  5. Rinse beans with fresh, cool water.

Purchasing

Where can I find ______ Hurst product?

Please visit our Store Locator to locate stores nearest you!

General

Did Hurst ever have a restaurant in Indianapolis? I remember going to a Ham & Bean Junction with my Dad.

Yes! We did own the Ham & Beans Junction on 38th and Monon, near the fairgrounds for a few years. Unfortunately, it is no longer in operation and we do not currently have plans to re-open or start a new restaurant.

Do you give tours of your factory?

We are not able to offer tours of our facility at this time.

How can I receive updates and recipes via email?

You can sign up for our newsletter here [Link: TBD].

How do I order from you?

You may order many Hurst's products directly from us by visiting www.hurstbeans.com/store. All seasoned bean products are sold in 3 packs, and un-seasoned "plain" beans by full 24 pack cases (1lb. packages).

How many people work for you?

We employ between 40 and 50 people.

Where are you located?

N.K. Hurst Company is located at 10505 Bennett Parkway, Suite 100, Zionsville, Indiana 46077.

Why Eat Beans?

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