While most dried beans need to be soaked before cooking, there are some exceptions: lentils and split peas are never soaked, as well as most heirloom beans (often called “new crop”). Before soaking dried beans, place them in a strainer or colander and rinse with cold water. Sort through them and pick out any discolored or broken beans. Now you have the option of using an overnight soak or a quick soak.
Overnight soak: Place the rinsed beans in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Let stand overnight—if your kitchen is very warm, refrigerate to avoid souring. The next day, drain the beans, discarding the soaking liquid. Rinse the beans and cook according to the recipe directions.