Beans and Other Legumes

Beans are one of the staples of a home food storage program. Beans and other legumes (such as split peas, dry peas, lentils, and peanuts) contain B vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and fiber. When combined in a meal, rice and beans provide a complete protein. Beans and other legumes are also relatively inexpensive, which makes them especially practical to include in your food storage program.

Preparing Beans

The first step in preparing beans is to sort and rinse them. Remove any broken or odd-colored beans, rocks, or dirt that may be mixed in with them. Rinse well and drain off the water.
After beans have been sorted, rinsed, and drained, they must be soaked. For every 1 cup of dry beans, use 3 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt. There are two ways to soak beans: overnight or by “quick soaking.” (To prevent fermentation, soybeans need to be refrigerated during soaking.)
Overnight Soaking. Combine water, salt, and beans in a pot. Cover with a lid and let stand overnight. In the morning, rinse and drain off the water. Add fresh water for cooking. This is the preferred method for soaking beans because the extended soaking time results in a more uniform texture. This is especially important when you plan to use whole beans in a salad.
Quick Soaking. Combine water, salt, and beans in a pot and bring to a boil.
Continue to boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cover. Let beans soak for 1 hour. Rinse and drain off the water. Add fresh water for cooking. Boiling the beans tends to split the skins, resulting in mushy beans. This method is fine, however, if you are making a recipe that calls for mashing the cooked beans, such as for refried beans or chili.

Cooking Beans

Cooking times vary widely for beans and other legumes, depending on the type. There are several methods for cooking beans. Most people use a stovetop or oven, however, a microwave oven, slow cooker (Crock-Pot), or pressure cooker works just fine, too. Microwave Oven. Combine water and beans in a microwave-safe dish. Use a container large enough to allow for the beans to expand to three times their current size. Cover with plastic wrap or a plastic lid. Follow your microwave

appliance guide for instructions and cooking times. Slow Cooker. You can presoak beans overnight in a Crock-Pot on a low setting. The next morning, drain soaking water, add fresh water and remaining recipe ingredients, and cook all day. Refer to the manufacturer’s directions for cooking times and settings.
Pressure Cooker. Using a pressure cooker is fast, but the beans tend to split and become mushy. Presoaking will help with this problem. Fill one-third of the cooke with beans. Fill the remaining two-thirds with water. This will allow for expansion and foaming. You can minimize foaming by adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil. Refer to table 8 for cooking times.

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