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are beans from the grocery store viable?  RSS feed

 
Leah Sattler
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I know that their freshness would be in question and therefore their germination rate too, but otherwise is there any reason why they wouldn't grow? such as being treated with stuff like potatoes are....
 
Brenda Groth
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they should have their date on when they were processed, and so if they were processed recently enough to be edible they should be plantable..try sprouting a few..
 
Susan Monroe
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Well-kept beans have actually lasted for centuries.

As Brenda suggested, dampen a paper towel, tissue or toilet paper and put ten on it in a plastic bag (those little ziplock snack bags are good for these experiments) and put in a warm place.  They should sprout quickly.

I bought some Anasazi beans, reputedly found in some old Anasazi ruins in AZ that had been abandoned at least 600-800 years before.  They sprouted them and they grew.  I tried sprouting them and got 9 out of 10.  I tried growing them last year, but either I got them in too late or it wasn't warm enough for them.  Last year was a very cool summer, and nothing grew well.

When I go to a Fred Meyer/Kroeger store where they have bulk foods, I often buy a small sample of the beans or seeds and sprout them: quinoa, amaranth, beans, herb seeds, etc.  Every one sprouted except the hulled millet, and I assume that was because of the hulling. 

OTOH, if you WANT to prevent seeds from sprouting, like what you put in your bird feeder, spread them on a cookie sheet and put them in a 250F oven for 15 minutes.  That is said to kill the embryo inside.

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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thats what I am going to do then! just to see. I like just perfectly the plain brown beans from the grocery store and would like to to a mass planting of them at some point.
 
Mori no Niwa
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I planted dried soybeans from the bulk bin at the healthfood store (as an experiment) this year, and the germination rate seemed to be as good as any commercially-bought seeds that I planted. The plants grew up healthy and normal-looking.

Next year I'd like to try it with chickpeas from the store, though my attempt at growing chickpeas this year wasn't too encouraging...a lovely little plant, but took forever to grow and didn't bear heavily, and each pod had only one chickpea in it, so lots of work in shelling. Maybe I'll try it with dried (regular) peas or lentils next...
 
Brenda Groth
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i have grown beans from the store bags before..so go for it.

try sprouting a few if you think they are questionable and don't want to waste the whole bag.
 
                    
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I have planted Pinto beans from ALDI for several seasons as a green manure cover crop. (They were 89 cents for a two pound bag, (couldn't beat that).
 
Robert Ray
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I tried store bought fava beans this year next to the a seed catalogs Windsor variety and they preformed as well, yet were an apparent smaller variety. Curious to see what if any cross pollination occured with seeds saved from the crop.
 
Fred Morgan
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I have never had a problem growing beans from the grocery.
 
                    
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It's my experience that the ones in cans don't sprout very well, if at all. 
 
Ken Peavey
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They grow just fine.  I've done it several times: light red kidney, pinto, and great northern.

1 pound of seed with cover 60-100 sqft, depending on how close you space the plants.  An Earthway 1001-B seeder will make fast work of the job.  Cost is about a hundred bucks plus shipping, plus seed plates.  Using the seeder with the bean plate, 5 pounds of beans will cover 800-1000 sqft of beds with about 4" between rows, 4' wide beds, 2' wide paths.  At a buck a pound for grocery store beans, its hard to ignore.

For each pound of seed you sow, you can expect anywhere from 10-25 pounds of beans to be produced.

There are some considerations:

-The beans are typically grown with all the chemicals and mechanically harvested.  Damage from the machines means the germ rate is lower.  I get about 60%.
-They are probably grown in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Michigan, and NY so the heritage of the plants is suited for more northern climates. 
-Being grown on vast monocrop fields, the beans may have been produced from  Evil Monsanto seed.  If you ever try to sell these beans, they may want to stomp on your throat.
-The cultivars may have been developed to respond to fertilizers and pesticides and may not produce as well without artificial inputs.

Its a fine means of getting some beans growing and some bulk food storage for you family at a low cost.  If you ever intend on marketing dry beans, I recommend heirloom seeds. 
 
Leah Sattler
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Jonathan_Byron wrote:
It's my experience that the ones in cans don't sprout very well, if at all.   


ha!

I was mostly curious and don't plan on trying to sell anything I hadnt' thought of the difference in climates they probably come from.

i suppose blackeyed peas would be viable too?
 
Ken Peavey
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Open pollinated seed from local gardeners is the best.  You can start with storebought seed, keep saving your seed from the best plants.  In a few years you'll have fine plants.

Cowpeas/blackeye peas/dixie peas all grow fine for me.  I do get a small weevil in some of the beans.  They show up a few days after harvest.  Takes time for them to grow.  For small amounts I pick through the beans removing any that have a spot or hollow area.  The beans could be frozen to kill off the larva, but I prefer to remove them rather than have them included in my meal.

 
                              
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I once planted chic peas from the grocery store, I guess they must have been from hybred plants or something since the plants I got had hardly any pods and the pods they did have only produced one seed each.  The Garbanzos I got from a organic seed company grew better and provided more seed though they still were not an impressive harvest though far better than the store bought ones.

However, I've found getting some types of seed to be a challenge for some cover crops and would be happy to grow stuff from the grocery store if suited to my climate.
 
Ken Peavey
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Chick peas are not a productive plant.  A few pods with a couple of peas is normal.  The advantage of growing them is that they will perform in hot, dry conditions where nothing else will grow.
 
Travis Philp
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I also had success planting organic chickpeas that I bought in bulk from a healthfood store. I planted them in early spring, around the time suited for planting sweet peas which is late april here. The germination rate was good and the chickpeas grew well vegetatively but as Ken said, they weren't that productive. But it's nice to be growing my own as my girlfriend is a hummus fiend, whereas I'm more of a humus fiend...
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Travis wrote:my girlfriend is a hummus fiend, whereas I'm more of a humus fiend...


You might both like hummus-ful. I first had this at a Palestinian restaurant in the Mission district of San Francisco, and it was really tasty.

In addition to chickpeas, it's made with broad (fava) beans, which might be cold-tolerant enough to plant a little earlier in the season. They are also much better than chickpeas at getting along with the all-important garlic.

On that note, and to keep this post from straying too far off topic, I've had good luck planting dry fava beans from the grocery store.
 
                    
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OK, this surprises me and I think I've learned something from this conversation.  I had thought that since all beans in grocery stores have been irradiated, that they could not be sprouted.  Hmmmmm, apparently they can be, so my questie is, "why are folks to aversed to irradiated beans?"  Does it kill off the nutrients?
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Koka wrote:
OK, this surprises me and I think I've learned something from this conversation.  I had thought that since all beans in grocery stores have been irradiated, that they could not be sprouted.  Hmmmmm, apparently they can be, so my questie is, "why are folks to aversed to irradiated beans?"  Does it kill off the nutrients?


Where did you hear that all the beans at the store have been irradiated?  I'm a little dubious about this...partly because I do think it would prevent germination, and they do germinate.

A lot of the beans sold at the store *are* heirloom varieties -- I've seen Jacob's Cattle there, for example.  I don't think they are all 'evil Monsanto' varieties -- yet.

Kathleen
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Irradiation would keep seeds from sprouting. It was very common to do so in the USSR, maybe partly expecting humid storage conditions, but it also maybe to exert some control over who may plant and when. It's sometimes used on potatoes, but other than that, I think the current US debate centers on animal products.

There are two camps who oppose radiation: one camp conflates the idea of rays of ionizing energy with radionuclides (and sometimes with radio etc.). Their fear is that shining rays through food would leave behind poisonous radionuclides. I have a different concept of radiation than this.

Another camp (which I'm much more sympathetic to) says that using radiation to kill the microbes in contaminated meat would mask the more obvious consequences of unsanitary meat production, and lead to a decline in the quality of food. Dry beans don't give people food poisoning, and so I haven't heard of them being irradiated in the US.
 
Robert Ray
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Believe it or not they have tried irradiating beans to reduce flatulence and it works to some degree.
 
                    
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Kathleen, I don't remember where I first heard that about beans, but it's been around for some time now.  Personally, I would like to have the gov't. leave my food alone, I don't see that happening anytime soon. 

I too, love the heirloom beans and living in Colorado, we have many of them.  One good place to find heirloom beans is in Dove Creek, CO.  Adobe Milling Co.

That said, and being raised in the puckerbrush of Maine, I still order yellow eye beans shipped to me every fall.  I just love them, even though it takes forever to cook them at an altitude of 8,000 feet.
 
Leah Sattler
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this looks like a publication from 2008.

http://www.organicconsumers.org/Irrad/LabelingStatus.cfm


"Which Foods Can Be Irradiated in the U.S. ?

Organic foods cannot be irradiated.

1963: wheat flour

1964: white potatoes

1986: spices, herbs, herb teas, pork, fruits and vegetables

1992: poultry

1997: beef

1999: Refrigerated or frozen raw beef, pork, lamb, and poultry.

2000: eggs in the shell, seeds for sprouting (like alfalfa)

2002: Imported fruits and vegetables

2002: Meat purchased by the National School Lunch Program"


don't see anything about dried legumes specifically. unless they are classified along with vegies, which would be stupid, but as we all know logic doesnt exactly saturate the system.
 
                    
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Good research Leah.  So after reading that paper, it's easy to conclude that buying organic is the only way to be sure you're getting the real goods.
 
Leah Sattler
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well..... some debate that even buying organic isn't always the real goods! but it sure seems like it has to be better. and of course just because it can be irradiated doesn't mean it regularly is. I am not sure where I stand on irradiated food. on one hand I am very keen on making natural choices for myself and family, but on a large scale I don't want "suzy two year old" down the road whose mother doesn't give a rip to die from e. coli in spinach way before she could ever experience the negative consequences of a questionable food treatment sometimes I think food safety can be a real crux when applied to feeding large masses of people when we set ideals aside and look at the current state.  irradiation can supposedly affect nutrient content to some extent...er... but so does cooking and storage etc.... how it affects other things in the food I am not terribly educated on. i  do know that alot of people are scared of it just because it sounds like "radiation" and that connotation brings many many negative things to mind. they seem to think it makes the food radioactive. I think that just like with pasteurization of milk it can be a cover up for sloppy sanitation. I was completely unaware that basically all imported food could be irradiated. that kinda spooks me.  I will continue to prefer organic whenever I can aquire it (which is dificult in my neck of the woods for most things unless I grow it myself) and will keep an interested and cautious eye towards irradiated food for a variety of reasons.
 
Travis Philp
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This is a bit alarming...

"A 1975 clinical study in India, which appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, looked at 15 malnourished children who were fed either irradiated or non-irradiated food. Eighty percent of the children fed irradiated food developed a pre-cancerous chromosomal disorder called polyploidy. A more recent study on 70 students in China (Chinese Medical Journal, 1987) also showed an increased rate of chromosomal abnormalities.

In addition, the "unique radiolytic products" (URP's), or toxins, produced through irradiation include: known carcinogens such as formaldehyde (used in embalming) and naphthalene (used in moth repellents), and others. If this were not enough, essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids are also destroyed at varying"

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FKA/is_n2_v60/ai_20220769/
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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I agree that organic is no guarantee.

My girlfriend bought a carton of organic milk, and as she put it in the fridge said "Is this date a typo? Milk doesn't keep that long!"

"Organic is usually ultra-pasteurized, because the farms are farther from the markets," I said. "It's about halfway toward the shelf-stable milk we get sometimes for camping."

It wouldn't surprise me if irradiation were within the organic certification guidelines, so that meat could be shipped farther.

I was surprised to learn about the flatulence scheme, but it sounds plausible: enough rems, and those oligosaccharides would be cleaved into something more digestible. But I bet it isn't cost-effective.

Also: every sack of potatoes I've bought in the last few years has ended up sprouting, so I think irradiation is mostly out of fashion for that product.
 
Emil Spoerri
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Great northern beans are a native american heirloom, though they're more suited for the north.
 
Leah Sattler
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Joel Hollingsworth wrote:


Also: every sack of potatoes I've bought in the last few years has ended up sprouting, so I think irradiation is mostly out of fashion for that product.


that has been my experience also. if they aren't used up for some reason or some measly runt potato gets left long enough they sprout quite easily.
 
jeremiah bailey
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From what I've read, almost all varieties of dried beans (P. vulgaris) are heirlooms: black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, et al. are heirlooms as much as Jacob's Cattle and Appaloosa. Even more so I think in some cases, as some of these date back to antiquity, and not just back 50 years as the heirloom standard goes.
 
Leah Sattler
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I had no idea jeremiah! that is great to know and somehow comforting.
 
          
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We once planted some incredibly old black beans, like ten year old commodity beans from the government, and they they did very well.

Then we decided we needed to eat our stores of food more regularly.   
 
Ken Peavey
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That's why I like beans and grains in storage.  After a few years, I can rotate my storage by planting it.  Old stock becomes new stock.

 
Dave Miller
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For a truly awesome garden experience, plant some black oil sunflower bird seed.  It is super cheap ($25 for 50 lbs.) and there is nothing like a big patch of sunflowers in bloom.  Then when they go to seed, the birds hang out in them well into the winter.
 
Emerson White
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Travis Philp wrote:
This is a bit alarming...

"A 1975 clinical study in India, which appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, looked at 15 malnourished children who were fed either irradiated or non-irradiated food. Eighty percent of the children fed irradiated food developed a pre-cancerous chromosomal disorder called polyploidy. A more recent study on 70 students in China (Chinese Medical Journal, 1987) also showed an increased rate of chromosomal abnormalities.

In addition, the "unique radiolytic products" (URP's), or toxins, produced through irradiation include: known carcinogens such as formaldehyde (used in embalming) and naphthalene (used in moth repellents), and others. If this were not enough, essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids are also destroyed at varying"

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FKA/is_n2_v60/ai_20220769/



I feel like the laughably bad science in that quote you posted makes it safe to not be worried by the article. Formaldehyde is produced by every single cooking method, and by digestion, it is anything but unique, and anyone with a scintilla of information about metabolism should know that.

Here is the indian study, 5 kids in a hospital is not a very strong sample (someone uses a heavy duty cleaning product in the room that those kids are held in and not the others and your experiment is contaminated), and there have been bigger better studies done since then which haven't shown any dangers.

ETA: Irradiation of foreign food actually makes more sense than anything else, it allows us to move crops with out risking moving the plant pathogens that developed elsewhere in the world.
 
                                      
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It doesn't matter when beans were packed or processed. If you put them into water for several days or even weeks, you'll see sprouts and you can be sure that these items are plantable. But in general I don't think that food stores have very fresh beans just because they can be stored for a very long time and still be ok. Also I can suggest you to read interesting information about food stores here http://www.pissedconsumer.com/consumer-reviews/grocery.html ;
 
Cris Bessette
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Leah Sattler wrote:
I know that their freshness would be in question and therefore their germination rate too, but otherwise is there any reason why they wouldn't grow? such as being treated with stuff like potatoes are....


I have planted the dried beans sold in mixtures called "15 bean soup" two years in a row.  All the varieties sprouted except the split peas.
 
Jordan Lowery
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if you buy beans to plant. go for the high quality brands. even 5-10$ isn't that expensive for a lb of beans. if you planted them all and they grew well you would have more beans than you could eat in a year easily.

the ones in the huge commercial bulk bags are bland and tasteless for the most part. ive also had less germination rates with them. ive used a few 50 lb bags that got those stupid moths in them for a summer cover crop. one bag germination was ok, the other bag maybe 10-20 plants came up.

all of the high quality beans i have bought for planting have grown well and given me good crops.
 
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