It’s always a good idea to pick over dried beans to remove any dirt or tiny stones.
Afterward, you can soak them in one of two ways. Dump the beans into a 2 to 3 quart container and pour in enough cold water to cover them by at least 4 inches. Let soak in a cool place at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Drain thoroughly. Alternatively, you may quick-soak the beans by placing them in a large saucepan, covering them generously with cold water, and bringing them to a boil. Boil 1 minute before removing from the heat. Let stand uncovered 1 hour, then drain and continue with the recipe. Dried beans are a good staple in the colder months, and add flavor and substance to a wide variety of dishes.