|Continuing the series to prepare you for a time when the store|
shelves are empty and you have to get by on what you have on hand.
BEANS (or legumes) are an inexpensive and nutritious protein food.
They are high in fiber, low in fat, a good source of protein, carbohydrates, folate, and many trace minerals. There are many different beans in the legume family. The different types can be interchanged in most recipes. Often their names are also interchanged.
Beans store well, cost little, and provide a punch for the nutrition dollar.
Varieties and Suggested Uses
Baby Lima - Mild flavored. Serve as a vegetable or in casseroles.
Large Lima - Rich, buttery flavor. Cook with smoked meat or cheese.
Light Red Kidney - Excellent in any recipe calling for cooked beans.
Dark Red Kidney - Colorful salad bean, mainly sold in canned form.
Split Peas - Dried peas are produced by drying pea pods that have been harvested when fully mature. Once they are dried and the skins removed, they split naturally. Generally green, but also available in a more delicately-flavored yellow.
Black-eye Peas - Also called black-eyed bean, it is a subspecies of the cow-pea, grown around the world for its medium-sized edible bean. They are pale colored with a prominent black spot. Cook with pork or chicken.
Small White - Their firm texture holds up under long, slow baking.
Navy - Medium-sized white pea-bean. Great for baked beans and soups.
Great Northern - Larger than small white or navy beans. Good for baking.
Pink - Great barbecue style or cooked with other spicy seasonings.
Red - Dark red, and pea-shaped. Use in any colored bean recipe.
Black Bean or Turtle Bean - A favorite in southern Mexico and the Caribbean. Great with rice.
Pinto - Popular in chili, refried beans, and other Mexican dishes.
Garbanzo or Chickpeas - Nut-like flavor. Ideal for salads and appetizers. Hummus, a dip or spread, is made from these. They were used quite frequently over 7,000 years ago and Hummus is one of the oldest foods dating back to ancient Egypt.
Anasazi or Ancient Ones - Cook in about half the time, sweeter flavor, mealier and cause less gas.
Lentils - a cousin of the bean. Relatively quick and easy to prepare. Readily absorb a variety of flavors from other foods and seasonings. Great boiled just until crunchy, and sprinkled on salads or as a snack.
Dried vs. Cooked Equivalents
There is a significant difference in the cooked yield from one pound of the different beans.
Great Northern: 2-1/3 cups = 1 pound = 6 cups cooked beans
Kidney: - 1-1/2 cups = 1 pound = 9 cups cooked beans
Lentils: 2-1/2 cups = 1 pound = 5 cups cooked
Large Lima: - 2-1/2 cups = 1 pound = 6 cups cooked
Cooking Beans and Legumes - Facts and/or Folklore
- Rinse all beans and legumes in cold water. Remove all dirt, pebbles, or bad beans.
- Soak the beans in 3 times as much water as beans. They can be soaked overnight. Discard soaking water before cooking. Lentils and split peas do not need to be soaked.
- Quick soaking method: For each pound of beans, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add the washed beans to the boiling water and boil for 1 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and soak for 1 hour. Discard soaking water.
- Add 1/8 tsp baking soda and 1 T cooking oil to each cup of beans while soaking. This will shorten the cooking time and decrease foaming.
- If you need to add liquid to your beans while cooking, use boiling water or the beans will be tough.
- The slower the beans are cooked, the easier they are to digest.
- Add meat, onions, celery and herbs during cooking to add more flavor. Add tomatoes, catsup, vinegar and other acid foods after the beans are tender, as the acid prevents softening of the beans.
- beans will increase double to triple during soaking and cooking.
- Cooked beans freeze well and will keep up to 6 months in the freezer.
- Stored beans should be rotated if possible. They continue to lose moisture and will not reconstitute satisfactorily if kept too long.
- Beans can be cooked in the crock pot. Because temperatures of crock pots differ, you may need to experiment with yours for exact cooking times.
- Soybeans can be used as a meat substitute.
Animal protein contains all the essential amino acids and can stand alone as a protein choice. Due to the lack of one or more amino acids in plant proteins they need to be paired with either an animal protein or another plant protein to improve their nutritional quality. For example: Legumes or dry beans may be paired with seeds and nuts or with a grain (wheat, cornmeal, rice, oats, etc.). This combination of a grain with the beans provides a complete protein.
Digestive Distress is an undesirable side effect of eating beans. The body lacks enzymes t digest some sugars int he beans. Since the sugars are not digested, they ferment in the digestive tract, creating gas. Following are ways to help alleviate this.
- Soak beans a minimum of 3 hours (8-12 hours is better) and discard soaking water.
- Sprout beans by soaking them 2 to 3 days, changing water 3 to 4 times, until beans begin to sprout. Then proceed to cook them.
- Add the lacking enzyme to the diet in the form of tablets or liquid; one commercial product is called "Beano."
Increase the Consumption of Beans by adding whole or mashed beans to meatloaf, soups, stews, and casseroles. Do this is small amounts to begin with and increase over time. Also, you can used cooked and pureed beans in baked goods.
Beans as a Fat Substitute
Cooked beans may be pureed and used in place of part of the fat in baked goods. They help provide moisture to the recipe but since the pureed beans will not act the same way as fat in baking, the final product will be changed. Do not replace all fat with pureed beans. Begin by replacing 1/4 to 1/2 and test the quality of the product.
Quick and Easy Hummus
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained with liquid reserved
1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 to 2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 T olive oil
1/2 tsp lemon juice, or to taste
Combine all in a blender or food processor. Blend on low speed, gradually adding a little reserved bean liquid, until desired consistency is achieved. Refrigerate to meld flavors. Serve with pita or other chips, crackers, cucumber slices, pepper strips, etc. Refrigerate leftovers.
Bean and Bacon Soup
2 strips bacon, browned
1 medium onion, chopped
1 T flour
2 cups bean puree
2 cups milk or meat stock
salt and pepper
Fry bacon, remove from pan and drain on paper. Cook onion in bacon drippings until golden color. Blend flour with onions and fat. Add puree and milk or stock gradually. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Cook 2-3 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Crumble bacon; sprinkle on top of soup before serving.
Black Bean Brownies
1 brownie mix that requires eggs and oil
1 (about 15 ounce) can of black beans
Rinse the black beans; add just enough water to cover the beans that are in the can. Pour the water and beans into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add the pureed beans to the brownie mix instead of the eggs and oil. Bake according to directions on brownie mix.
Apple Spice Pinto Bean Cake
2 cups cooked pinto beans, mashed
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each cinnamon, cloves and allspice
2 cups applesauce
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2 tsp vanilla
Cream honey, egg, oil and beans together. Mix with dry ingredients. Add applesauce, raisins, nuts and vanilla. Bake in greased 9x13 pan at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.