Fermented black beans: Fermented black beans, which are preserved in salt and flavored with ginger, are frequently used in Chinese stir-fries, marinades and sauces. Before using, soak them in water for 10-30 minutes to get rid of excess salt. When purchasing fermented black beans, look for shiny, firm beans, rather than ones that are dull and dry with salt spots. Look for them in Asian markets and natural-foods stores. Once open, store tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.