Beans are a staple food for cultures all over the world. Due to their nutrient content, the USDA’s My Pyramid includes beans within the vegetable category. The vegetable like qualities of beans include fiber, vitamins and minerals. Beans are also considered a good source of protein.
Beans are quite affordable in dry form, when compared to a canned good. Purchase of beans dried avoids possible contamination by BPA, which is found in the lining of canned goods. Dried beans can be found at just about any grocery store, and are offered in bulk at health food stores in Fort Worth, such as Central Market, Sunflower Shoppe, and at Whole Foods in Arlington. Many varieties can be found as organically grown.
One batch of beans can provide several meals for a group of people, to be eaten off of for days. This method of cooking can provide delicious food made from scratch, while freeing up time in the days ahead to be spent otherwise.
Dried bean preparation is part of a slow food concept, involving several steps, over a span of 2-3 days. The result is a nutrient dense and versatile food that can be enjoyed for many meals ahead.
How to prepare dried beans
Step 1 Plan
When do the beans need to be ready?
Begin the process 3 days before. On the cooking day, 5 hours of time are needed.
Example: Begin soaking Friday, cook on Sunday, enjoy Sunday and or during the week ahead.
How many pounds are needed?
Each pound of beans will make about 5 cups cooked. For one person, 1 pound is plenty. For two people, 2 lb is plenty. For larger groups, 3 lb is about the max that will fit in a typical sized large pot.
Step 2 Rinse and Soak
Carefully inspect and remove small rocks or debris
Rinse beans in a colander
Put beans into a large bowl
Add double the volume of water to beans
Place in fridge
Allow to soak for 2 days
Over the soaking period, pour out the water and refill with fresh water twice
Step 3 Cook
Rinse beans again
Add water to a couple inches above the bean level
Cook beans at a medium boil uncovered for 2-3 hours
Skim off any foam on top of water
Add water if the fluid level drops below the beans
Taste for tenderness at 2 hours
Once the beans are slightly tender, remove from heat
Rinse again, add water to an inch above the bean line
Add spices and herbs of choice, and salt
Cook 1-2 hours, till tender
See article: Protein Foods
See article: Time to Cook
See article: The Power of Plant Foods