Legumes/Beans: How to Cook and
Store Beans For Long Term Storage
The legume family (or beans to most of us) includes lentils, peas and peanuts.
These foods are the richest source of vegetable protein and are a good source of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber.
Because they are nutritious, easy to store, and can be "problematic" to our digestion, we need to buy and try different varieties and learn to cook with them.
I'll show you how versatile they can be in your everyday cooking.
- Generally, beans will keep indefinitely when stored in a cool, dry place.
- Never store dry beans in the refrigerator.
- Store beans in bulk 5-6 gallon buckets. The easiest way is to purchase them in already sealed containers.
- If you choose to dry can them yourself, buy the food-grade buckets, regular or self-sealing Mylar bags, and oxygen absorbers, fill with beans, seal the Mylar, and put the lid on tight.
Cooking With Beans
As everyone knows, beans take some getting used to, or we just put up with the gaseous condition they create in our digestive systems. Some are affected more or less than others. Since there are many varieties, store the kind your family likes.
The following suggestions may reduce the indigestion isses a lot or a little, depending on your digestion system.
- Soak the beans. It reduces cooking time by about one half (use a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of water to beans). Soaking saves vitamins, minerals and proteins which can be lost during prolonged heating. Exceptions are lentils, split peas and black-eyed peas which may be cooked from their dry state.
- The larger the bean the longer they need to soak; and the longer the beans are soaked, the faster they cook.
- Don't add baking soda to hasten soaking or cooking time as it will decrease the nutritional content of the beans.
- Don't add salt or any product high in calcium, magnesium or acid to the soaking or cooking water or beans will not soften. Add salt to the beans when you cook them or put in any recipe calling for partially cooked beans only after beans have reached desired tenderness.
- Don't cook dry beans in the microwave - microwaving is fine for reheating beans that are already cooked.
- Legumes are great in soups, but grinding them into bean flour for baking makes for interesting baked goods.
Although I love most legumes (particularly pinto beans), the challenge for me is the time it takes to prepare them on a regular basis. It takes planning ahead and I have a tendency to forget to soak them until it's too late.
A great way to cook them is to soak overnight in a crockpot. After soaking, pour off the water and refill with clean water (I have used part tomato juice - ummm good!). Add vegetables, meat, and spices to your taste and let the crockpot cook slowly and blend them all into a delicious dinner while you go about your day doing other things.
Helpful Products for Cooking With Beans
How to Make Bean Flour
The WonderMill Grain Mill can grind many kinds of seeds and beans, but have you ever cooked with bean flour? It's especially good for those who need gluten-free foods.
Bean powder can be substituted for flour in many recipes. Make homemade cream of chicken soup by grinding 4 tablespoons of any white bean, add 1-3/4 cup of water, 4 teaspoons of chicken bouillion and cook over medium heat (about 3 minutes) until thick and creamy. Use white bean flour also to thicken sauces or gravies.
Use black bean flour in your chocolate cake or brownie recipes or add it to whole wheat bread to make a darker loaf.
An Electric Pressure Cooker will make the cooking process for beans much easier and much faster.
My guess is that we would all eat beans more often if we used a pressure cooker to cook beans. Doing so eliminates the soaking period and shortens cooking time to about 1-2 hours, depending on the type of beans.
- There are a large variety of dry beans, some include black, red, white, pinto, kidney, garbanzo.
- Dry soy beans provide an excellent source of protein. Standard soaking methods apply.
- Split peas come in two types: yellow and green. Yellow split peas have a milder flavor and are good to use in dishes where you want to hide the richer, green pea flavor. Dry split peas are most commonly used in thick soups and stews. There is no need to soak split peas.
- The lima bean, also known as the chad bean or butter bean, is a large disk-shaped bean. They make a great side dish flavored with butter and salt. Standard soaking methods apply. (Hmmm...not my favorite type.)
- Lentils have a high nutritional value, second only to soy beans in protein content. The lentil is a cousin of the bean and is used as an additive in soups and chili.
Where to Buy Beans Packed for Long Term: