Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bountiful Beans

Frequently Asked Questions…

*Why do I need to soak beans and how long?
Beans and legumes contain a compound called phytic acid. This is an anti-nutrient that inhibits the absorption of nutrients into the body. By soaking the beans in slightly acidic medium the phytic acid is release and the body can enjoy the host of nutrients beans/legumes have to offer. Soaking, also, takes up to 1/3 off the cooking time! Soak 12-24 hours.**Sometime you may need to sift through beans/legumes for any shriveled beans or debris of other sorts**

Do I soak beans in hot or cold water?
I always fill my bowl with hot water and soak my beans for 12-24 hours in that same water. Others will change it out periodically with fresh hot water. It can be hot from the tap or boiled water poured over.

*Why should I add beans/legumes to my diet?
Beans/legumes are cost effective, versatile, and come in amazing variety. Beans/legumes are full of:
~healthy protein. Protein builds and repairs body tissue, regulates body processes, gives energy and more.
~fiber. It helps digest food, flushes toxins, and helps in weight loss.
~B vitamins which are necessary for healthy brain and nerve cells, for normal functioning of the skin, nerves and digestive system.
~calcium for strong bones and teeth and to help keep the body more alkaline, rather than acidic.
~potassium helps reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
~folate a B vitamin that our bodies don’t produce yet dry beans are our single best source of this important vitamin which helps protect against heart disease and cancer.

* How can I add beans/legumes to my diet?
There are over 60 beans/legumes that can be used in soup, salads, salsas, burritos, casseroles and smoothies. Beans can be used whole or smashed. They can be the star of the meal or a side. We are only limited by our imagination.

*How can I get my beans to be soft?
It is important to:
1)soak your beans 12-24 hours in mild acid medium (add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar)
2) NEVER put salt in the pot until last minute when beans are soft.
F.A.Q continued….

3)add a pinch of baking soda to the water if beans aren’t softening.
4)If beans aren’t softening after a couple hours of cooking add a pinch of baking soda &/or a splash of vinegar to the cooking water.

*How can I reduce gas and bloating?
1) Always soak 18-24 hours and throw away used water
2)simmer with a KOMBU strip
3) Eat with digestive herbs and spices
4)make sure to cook beans until completely soft.

*What are the methods of cooking beans?
1)Stove top: After soaking beans drain and rinse beans thoroughly. Place beans in a large pot. Fill the pot with cold water. Bring beans to a boil skimming off all foam. After about an hour (for hard beans) check to see if they are getting soft. If they aren’t add some soda/vinegar. Continue simmering until done. Add spices at the end and simmer to combine flavors.

2)Crock pot: After soaking beans drain and rinse beans thoroughly. Place beans in crock pot. Place on high for a few hours or on low for several hours. At the end of cooking add spices and allow time to blend flavors.

**These and other methods can be found in Three Plates at The Table on page 59 including: canning and pressure cooking***

Red Curry Lentil soup
This is a recipe that is easy, quick and great reheated. It’s also a creative way to add more greens to your diet.~Jami
Makes 4 , 1 cup servings

1 cup green lentils
2 TBSP real butter or tallow
½ chopped yellow onion
3 cups broth
1 TBSP red curry paste
Chopped carrots &/or greens optional

Soak lentils in hot water as long as 24 hours then strain.

To make soup: In a pan melt butter and sauté onion until translucent. Add lentils and sauté 2-3 min. add broth and paste, carrots stirring well. Simmer 15-25 minutes until done. If using greens add last five minutes of simmering. Eat as is or use a hand blender to cream it up.

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