I ♥ breakfast.
Oats ♥ my ♥. 🙂
Tate and I had a sweet 10th Valentines together, from the oats delivery to the midday picnic
Yay for the first picnic of 2011 being in FEBRUARY!
This salad rocked. Arugula, white beans, beets, gorgonzola, and avocado dressed with Newman’s Own Low Fat Rasberry Walnut Balsamic, served with Grape Kefir Soda.
My Valentine ♥
Tate and I went out for an early dinner and were in bed embarrassingly early.
Do you know what those are↑?
Soaking black beans!
Last week reader Laura asked me a question about how I prepare beans. Since I am a huge bean fan, and Tate is even more of a fan than me, this house sees a lot of legumes and I am more than happy to discuss this little wonder food.
Before moving to Peru canned black beans and garbanzos were a staple on our grocery list. Growing up my parents always fixed beans from scratch but on my own it seemed so simple to buy the $.70 cans.
Canned beans are a novelty item in the bean culture of Peru. Cans are expensive and wasteful, not to mention a serving size there is like a can a person! When in
Rome Lima…I started soaking dried beans and cooking them on a regular basis.
This is a practice I have kept up with since returning to the land of cans and convenience. Cooking beans from scratch is both economical and ecological. Sure, you can recycle cans but think of all the energy that went into producing that can, cooking the beans, transporting the cans to the bean factory to the grocery store to your house, not to mention the energy required to recycle. You can reduce the impact (and sometimes the cost) even further by buying beans from the bulk bins and using reused produce bags (you are going to rinse and boil the beans so don’t worry about sanitation) to store them.
So what do you do with those little dry beans once you bring them home? My preferred method is the long soak. This method definitely takes some forethought but since we are always up for eating beans around here I always have beans soaking.
Here are the garbanzos in my fridge right now
Place dry beans in a container, cover plus a few inches with water, place in fridge or on counter for at least 12 hours, preferably 24 or more. If you are soaking for longer than 24 hours I recommend putting your soaking beans in the fridge. I often soak for days, I think those garbanzos have been in there since Wednesday. The longer the soak the quicker the cooking time (and less gas-inducing complex sugars!). Black beans can cook in as little as 20 minutes after a long soak.
Note: dry beans soak up a ton of water, check them after a few hours to make sure they are still completely covered.
I recommend soaking in glass so you don’t have to worry about the soaking water leaching toxins from plastic or metal.
When you are ready to cook your soaked beans pour them into a colander and rinse several times to clean them (beans never get washed prior to bagging!), dump into a pot, cover completely with water, bring to a boil, turn down and simmer until fully cooked (completely soft).
If you want to add salt to your beans DO NOT add it until the beans are very close to done, otherwise they won’t soften completely. Drain and enjoy!
I recommend making large batches with this method and freezing the leftovers in freezer bags or jars. This way you have beans ready to eat at all times and your freezer stays full (more energy-efficient).
This method is appropriate for any type of dry beans that require soaking (lentil and split peas are two that do not need soaked).
Beans are one of the healthiest and cheapest food sources so enjoy liberally!