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It’s Not What You Think!

6 August 2009

Sure, there’s a picture of food.

White beans pesto, homemade roasted pepper antipasto

And sure, the pesto is made with basil from the garden, and I roasted the peppers on the stovetop, and used garlic from the garden, and tomatoes from the farmer’s market, and bread from a local bakery.

But this isn’t another food post.

(Well, it is, but not in the typical sense for this blog…)

Have you ever cooked dry beans, or have you always used beans from a can? Sure, you can get most cans for under a dollar, and sure, it helps make meal prep easier, but you are really missing out.

Canned beans are cooked in the can, you know — that’s why they always come out a bit mushy, or soft. When you use dry beans, you are in control of the length of cooking, so your beans come out with a nice firmness to the bite — it’s the legume version of al dente pasta.

If you don’t believe me, you should have a taste test: cook some beans from dry, and then open a can of the same type of bean. Take a bite of each. You’ll be convinced.

How I cook dry beans: Pick through them, removing pebbles, nuggets of dirt, or bad-looking beans; rinse them; stick them in a pot, cover with water + 2 inches; bring to a boil; boil 2 minutes; turn heat off and let them sit 1 hour; drain water, refill with fresh; bring to boil and simmer 1 hour. Most beans will be done in 45-60 minutes.

You can also just set them in a pot of water (after the rinsing step) and let them soak 8 hours without the boiling.

Easy peasy. And delicious.

(And wouldn’t you rather read another food post than read about my sore tailbone from starting up my exercise regimen again? No really — trust me: you’d MUCH rather read about the food.)

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. cowgirl permalink
    7 August 2009 10:08 am

    I am with you on the dry vs. canned. The difference in taste of refried beans made with dry beans is UNDENIABLE! So much better, even though you mashe them up- its a consistency issue 🙂

  2. 7 August 2009 12:19 pm

    Canned = easy. I’m all about easy.

    And how did you hurt your tailbone exercising? Did you fall on it?

  3. 7 August 2009 9:09 pm

    And then if you can get freshly shelled beans of different types…. a wholen other level of flavor!

  4. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    10 August 2009 3:53 pm

    cowgirl: So right – consistency is the key.

    Kathy: Nope, I did crunches, and that made the skin around my tailbone sore. How embarrassing.

    isabelita: We grow green beans in our garden and they very rarely make it to the cooking pot — mostly we just eat them right off the vine!

  5. 12 August 2009 7:44 am

    I try to remember to stick dry beans in a pan to soak overnight; that way, when you come to cook them the next day, it feels as if you didn’t have to do anything extra anyway, because that was yesterday, and we all know that the past is a different place and they do things differently there, right? Also, you get the smug kick of having been all organised about cooking dinner, and of having spent less than you would have done on canned alternatives.

  6. 16 August 2009 9:18 pm

    We use a pressure cooker for our dried beans. We soak them overnight, and then the beans cook in not much time at all (varies according to the type of bean, of course). I also try to keep a good stash of prepped beans in the freezer in labeled bags: some bags have soaked raw beans, and some have fully cooked beans. I’ve found that they all freeze/thaw beautifully, and using frozen beans is just as simple as–and much cheaper than–using canned beans.

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