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Cooking with Dry Beans and Peas  RSS feed

 
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I always discard the cooking water from the first cooking of beans, to get rid of the bad stuff. Then I start over with fresh liquid to continue the recipe.

I think any kind of bean could be ground up to use in falafel or pakoras, even though garbanzos/chickpeas are the usual suspects.

I made some pakoras with cactus pads as the vegetable and they were pretty good!
 
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I'm always time strapped and only cooking for one, so I use canned organic black beans.
Not crazy about chard and kale, but it's the easiest thing to grow.
So I shred the kale, chard, sorrel, lambsquarters, dandlion,onion stalks, any greens in my garden , put the beans on top and put in a bowl and into the
microwave.
I also do the same thing to Amys Miso Soup Bowls
So I've got dinner in 5 minutes, which is about all the energy I have at the end of the day
 
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I haven't read every post in detail, but have read enough to see that there are a variety of cooking/soaking methods that people have found work for them and that suggests to me that there is also a large difference in human guts with some needing different approaches to do the job. IOW, if at first you don't succeed, try some other way! That being said, I'll leave a few of my methods and observations for people to think about:

1. Soaking - my understanding is that "soaking" beans is not about "leaching" out the bad stuff, but about the seed starting to change the bad stuff into less bad stuff by using the water in chemical reactions. Can anyone confirm this?
2. In my distant past, I had a copy of a chart which identified how specific plant seeds were higher and lower in the amino acids that make up protein and related that information to the specific ratio of aa's that humans need to consume to get what we call a "complete protein". I found it very interesting how traditional diets had developed dishes that accomplished this goal. Although overall, most North Americans have plenty of protein in their diets and their issues relate to a lack of nutritional density and micro-nutrients, I felt it was a point worth raising. For people trying to eat what's on their land, paying attention to ancient ways of combining food crops - beans with corn for example - was done precisely because our ancestors were healthier when they did so.
3. Guts are different - I've been trying hard to increase the amount of naturally fermented foods I eat/drink and this may help some people tolerate beans better.

Sooo..... I cook beans the following way: Soak overnight in water (12 to 24 hours) shaking the jar periodically, then drain. Bring water in my pressure cooker to a boil. Pour the beans slowly into the boiling water to try not to loose the boil. Add a little oil/fat - this changes the surface tension and decreases the froth which makes it less likely to boil over. Put the lid on and bring it up to pressure. Cook between 25 and 35 minutes depending on the bean (there's a chart in an ancient pressure cooker book I have, but two factors are size of bean and what I plan on using the beans for.) Drain and use the water on plants when it's cooled.

This seems to work for my gut. Is all the fuss really necessary? That's a darn good question and I suppose at some point I should experiment by changing one thing at a time, but I'm not there yet!

This spring I decided to put "making good hummus" on my learn to do list. Due to point "2" above, I make my hummus with chickpeas or black beans and tahini. I believe the two combine to balance the aa's but I could be wrong. I started with an online recipe, and the instructions below are a mash up of what the web said, what equipment I have available, and what appeals to me.
Smooth Hummus Recipe

You Will Need
• One 15-ounce can (425 grams) chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans (1/2 cup dried soaked overnight then pressure cooked.) (Round 4 used ½ cup black beans and lime juice)
• 1/4 cup (59 ml) fresh lemon juice, about 1 large lemon
• 1/4 cup (59 ml) tahini, I've been buying, but there are recipes for making it from scratch.
• Half of a large garlic clove, minced (second time used baked garlic several small - everyone seems to prefer the more mellow flavor when baked garlic is used)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
• 1/2 teaspoon salt, depending on taste
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
• 2 to 3 tablespoons home made Kombucha - the original recipe called for water, but adding the gut helping microorganisms seemed like a good idea.
• Dash of ground paprika for serving

I soaked a ½ cup dried chickpeas overnight then pressure cooked for ~35 min.
Result - ~2 ½ cups or <400 ml cooked and drained.

Directions
Preparing the Hummus
1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine tahini and lemon/lime juice. Process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl then turn on and process for 30 seconds. This extra time helps “whip” or “cream” the tahini, making smooth and creamy hummus possible. (Since I don’t own a food processor, I used my blender carefully.) (Round three: I added 15 x home-dried mini-tomato halves and soaked them overnight in kombucha. There was ~two Tbsp of liquid left which I added with the first lot of peas, but it needed a 3rd Tbsp which I added with the remaining peas so the machine could whiz it.)
2. Add the olive oil, minced garlic, cumin and the salt to the whipped tahini and lemon juice mixture. Process for 30 seconds, scrape sides and bottom of bowl then process another 30 seconds.
3. Add half of the chickpeas to the food processor then process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl, add remaining chickpeas and process for 1 to 2 minutes or until thick and quite smooth. (if it gets too thick for the blender motor, I add kombucha one Tbsp at a time.)
4. Add the rest of the chickpeas, adding kombucha or water as needed.
5. To Serve: I scrape the hummus into "fish canning jars" - I was given a these, and the size and shape are great for storing the hummus in the fridge. I've never added the extra oil they call for on top.
6. To Store: Store homemade hummus in an airtight container and refrigerate up to one week.
I usually add the paprika with the other spices as I'm not looking for "pretty". If anything, my first try tasted a bit boring, but not due to a lack of salt, so that's when I started adding the re-hydrated tomatoes. This was very popular until I ran out of dried tomatoes!

May 26, used Black beans, 1/4 tsp cayenne, ½ tsp paprika, ¼ tsp red pepper flakes. This one seemed a bit boring, but quite edible. I don't know if the balance of aa's is the same in black beans as in chickpeas (I suspect not), but the protein can't be too out of whack or I'd notice.

Maybe next time I'll try using a combination of a stick blender and my vegetable ricer to see it that works as well or better than the blender. My biggest complaint about the recipe and it seems to take too long to make, and I can't improve the efficiency using my current methodology. Cooking extra peas/beans and freezing them in recipe quantities would be possible. To some extent, I just consider that good food takes time to prepare, so if I want good food that I can trust, I have to accept that!



 
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@John Skaggs: "Larger beans may require 2 or more passes to reach a desired fineness. For us anyway, the investment in the dry Vitamix container was very worthwhile."

So I gave a version of this a try just using a small batch of cranberry beans (dry) in an electric coffee mill. After mixing the powderized beans in water, the mixture was cooked as a bubbling concoction for about 15 min. After that, it was added to some heated oil containing sauteed garlic, onion, cumin, and a few other spices and cooked it an additional 15 min. It worked okay.....good to know it could work in a pinch. But I must admit that the flavor and consistency of our normal refried beans, when made from this same bean cooked out ahead of time as a whole bean, are more enjoyable. In the summer time, I can often just set up beans in water in the solar oven in the morning and they will be done when I get home in the evening, so this is a bit more energy saving on processing them to a cooked bean. We then typically store batches of cooked beans in the chest freezer til needed.
 
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This recipe may not fit the bill for the request for frugal recipes in a recent daily-ish that linked this thread, but I'm posting it anyway. It's a recipe for Cassoulet, that incredibly savory baked bean dish of SW France. I had the privilege of living in SW France for 5 months this past winter, and I devoted a lot of time to cooking its famous dishes. I changed the procedures ever so slightly, by soaking the beans for at least 24 hours before cooking, and also by cooking the Cassoulet in a very low oven (about 300°) for 7 hours, taking inspiration from the final lines of this article.

In the recipe linked above, she has us mince up the pancetta/ventrèche roulée (salted, rolled pork belly, not smoked), the pork rind, and all the other things that went into flavoring the beans while they had their preliminary cooking, and add them back into the beans before being cooked a second time in the cassole. This is definitely frugal. And, although it wouldn't necessarily be a "real" cassoulet without the addition of the larger pieces of meat, I would say that one could get away with it, as just these small amounts of protein and fat make the dish plenty satisfying. In fact, I made it a few times, and would always find that I was most satisfied with a very small piece of duck confit (the wing drumette) and sausage, and a big portion of beans, because the beans were so thick and rich due to the collagen from the rind.

Bookmark this recipe for that first stretch of chilly weather this fall! It's incredible!!!
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I would like to point out that one-sixth of the world's population lives in India, and eats cooked dried peas or beans every day. The idea that these are "difficult to digest" is unknown, or at least I've never heard anybody say it in over 20 years in this country. I would like you to stop for a moment and think about that: more than one billion people eat dried pulses every day, and thrive. Many people here cook dal in a pressure cooker, but for centuries there were no pressure cookers and nobody in the vast and impressive Indian worlds of traditional, modern or superstitious health advice seems to have gained any traction saying that dal doesn't digest right.

Indians do worry about other dietary things, but this is not one of them. Just sayin'.
 
John Weiland
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@Rebecca N: "...one-sixth of the world's population lives in India, and eats cooked dried peas or beans every day. The idea that these are "difficult to digest" is unknown, or at least I've never heard anybody say it in over 20 years in this country."

Noteworthy, yes. And yet there is adaptation to different kinds of foods. Lactose digestibility is a good example of one that delineates along ethnic lines:

"Prior to the mid-1960s, most American health professionals believed that these (lactase) enzymes were present in nearly all adults as well. When researchers tested various ethnic groups for their ability to digest lactose, however, their findings proved otherwise. Approximately 70 percent of African Americans, 90 percent of Asian Americans, 53 percent of Mexican Americans, and 74 percent of Native Americans were lactose intolerant. Studies showed that a substantial reduction in lactase activity is also common among those whose ancestry is African, Asian, Native American, Arab, Jewish, Hispanic, Italian, or Greek.

In 1988, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported, "It rapidly became apparent that this pattern was the genetic norm, and that lactase activity was sustained only in a majority of adults whose origins were in Northern European or some Mediterranean populations." In other words, Caucasians tolerate milk sugar only because of an inherited genetic mutation.

Overall, about 75 percent of the world's population, including 25 percent of those in the U.S., lose their lactase enzymes after weaning. The recognition of this fact has resulted in an important change in terminology: Those who could not digest milk were once called "lactose intolerant" or "lactase deficient." They are now regarded as normal, while those adults who retain the enzymes allowing them to digest milk are called "lactase persistent." -- http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vegdiets/what-is-lactose-intolerance

So this provides precedent that such digestibility issues may occur. Such anomalies would not necessarily be noticed until larger fractions of a population were introduced to new foods that they may or may not process (physiologically) in the same way as they do other foods to which they have a longer-standing adaptation. What may be interesting, given the genetic diversity in edible legumes, is how that digestibility may associate with bean/pea lineages of both Old World and New World origin.
 
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I'm not certain lactose is a good comparison - yes it makes sense that genetics affect how we digest food, but most cultures have a history of eating pulses (dry beans and peas). Asia, Africa, Europe, a good chunk of North America, and a few other places have a few thousand years history of having pulses as a main part of the diet. It doesn't make sense that we are genetically selected against digesting pulses; it does however, make sense that we have lost the cultural practices that make them easier to digest (fermenting, proper cooking times, eating 'fresh' dry beans instead of 5 year old stuff, eating it several times a week...&c).

Rebecca, please share yummy recipe ideas.
 
John Weiland
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@ R. Ranson: " ....but most cultures have a history of eating pulses (dry beans and peas)."

Absolutely. Which is why I included the last line of the post. Legumes are in a LOT of diets. And it may be that those sensing within themselves an indigestibility of one type of legume may wish to try others since the diversity within legumes is so high. There may be one legume lineage or even several that don't elicit an adverse reaction. Also agree with the cultural practices in preparation that are important.
 
John Weiland
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!!WOW!!

At 30.5 Mb, not a small download, but 196 pages of free information on Pulse crops, factoids, and recipes:

http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/3c37a47f-228c-4bdc-b8a5-593759464eb4/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social+media&utm_campaign=fao+facebook

 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm trying a variation of this tonight, using chard from the garden in place of spinach: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/12/curried-chickpeas-spinach/
 
Rebecca Norman
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R Ranson wrote:Rebecca, please share yummy recipe ideas.



I'm not a very good cook of Indian food because everybody else cooks it here. I cook other stuff, for variety and for my own personal entertainment

Dal in India is usually cooked plain, and then the seasonings are added at the end. What I've seen, and I think is common across India, is that you cook the dal (any kind of dried peas, lentils or beans) in plain water in a pressure cooker. Then in a separate frying pan, you fry up your onions and tomatoes, and garlic and spices, and then you pour the hot oily mix onto the dal and mix it in. Garnish with chopped cilantro and a drizzle of ghee if desired. Some religions and individuals don't use onions and garlic, so they'll use more spices like maybe a little asafoetida.

Sambar is a favorite of mine, a South Indian staple. I've always had the sour version, which is watery yellow split peas (?) with large chunks of specific vegetables, and soured with tamarind.

Dal in Nepal is always extremely watery, and you have to eat it with rice, with your fingers. From a wide flat plate. I don't know, doesn't really work for me. I like a thicker dal, in the North Indian style. I think I didn't realise till I came here and ate dal... every. single. day... that everybody has strong preferences for which beans or peas they like best. My favorites over here are kidney beans (called rajma) and brown lentils (called kerze in Ladakhi). I dislike moong dal (mung beans) and urad dal, because I find they have a slimy texture like okra. We also see a lot of split yellow peas and orange lentils with the skins removed, and those are both fine.

Urad dal makes a fabulous unlimited variety of "chutney powders" (podi) in South India. I have failed to find this available commercially: you have to have a Tamil friend whose mother sends parcels. Ooh, yum! I've followed instructions and tried making it but it's never as good as when a friend's mother sends it. Supposedly, you just heat up a little oil on the iron chapatti pan and dry roast/fry the dry urad beans. Then you dry roast chillies, a little asafoetida, and sometimes other spices. Then you grind it all together and there's your chutney podi. Traditionally sprinkled on food for extra spice, or on plain rice for a quick simple snack. I love it on buttered toast, myself, but was laughed at by a Tamil friend whose mother had sent some. I don't care, it gets me through the Ladakhi winter when there are no fresh veggies or fruit or interesting things to eat!
 
r ranson
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I've just started a new thread about pressure canning dry beans.

Someone mentioned it earlier and it looks like it would be very convenient to have a few jars of ready to eat beans in the cupboard. This is mostly because I'm the one who uses the pressure cooker, so if we want fast beans, muggins here has to do it.
 
r ranson
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Today I made falafel with sprouted chickpeas. I didn't have time to cook the soaked chickpeas earlier in the week, so I drained them, rinsed them often and sprouted them so that the spout was the same length as the bean.

Made falafel as per normal, but it has a bitter taste that coats the back of the teeth. It's sort of pleasant and sort of not. Is this something I should be cautious of? Never used sprouted beans before.
 
r ranson
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I've been cooking a big pot of beans each week.  It's delightful to have a pre-made staple food in the fridge.  It lasts about 10 days (unless it gets eaten) in the fridge but I'm sure to boil it well before eating if it's over three days old.  

The local butcher gives away free fat - which often has little bits of meat on it.  I took a bunch of this fat and used a bacon recipe to cure and smoke it.  A little bit of smoked fat goes in the bean and it makes the flavour fantastic.  


The problem is, the weather is starting to warm up and I don't feel like eating such a heavy dish of beans in the summer.  Any more ideas on summer bean recipes?
 
John Weiland
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@R Ranson: "Any more ideas on summer bean recipes?"

I'm a fan of the "3-bean salad" (below) on which you can make many variations and add different kinds of beans.  

Also like to make pasta salad where the protein is provided by chickpea or some other legume.
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delicious article on cooking dry beans


There are some neat tips about salting the soaking water to preserve nutrients, using kombu (seaweed) to improve digestibility, and the like.  
 
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Hi - I'm also using the slow cooker to soak, and then cook my dried beans - you're right - it's big, and can cook a lot of beans. I use that to my advantage, cook heaps, and then freeze then flat, before bagging them and keeping in the freezer, so I can use any amount when I need them. Hope that is helpful! I find it really handy!
 
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John Weiland wrote:!!WOW!!

At 30.5 Mb, not a small download, but 196 pages of free information on Pulse crops, factoids, and recipes:  

http://www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/3c37a47f-228c-4bdc-b8a5-593759464eb4/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social+media&utm_campaign=fao+facebook



Any idea on how to save this? I don't want to print 196 pages!!!
 
r ranson
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For my computer, I hover the mouse near the top of the screen and a menu shows up.  I made a picture with an arrow of what to click to download the document.
here.png
[Thumbnail for here.png]
 
Deb Rebel
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R Ranson wrote:For my computer, I hover the mouse near the top of the screen and a menu shows up.  I made a picture with an arrow of what to click to download the document.



THANK YOU. I just finished a week of h*** doing a backup and installing Windows 10 before the deadline (if you are running a laptop you have many problems with trying to install it, I finally set up a dual boot. And hate Windows 10, it's several steps backwards IMHO). However, that doesn't show me a menu like that. I get a bar at the bottom and my choices are print it, or move around in the document. I have no idea how to play with Adobe Acrobat Pro, which is what it comes up in. I'll just save the link and refer to it later, and bother someone I know that's an expert at AAP. Thank you for all your effort to try to help me. I also dropped to 7 and still no dice. Sigh.
 
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Thank you for the video. Warning to others the music is quite cheesy and loud if you have tinntinitus Very informative.
 
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Based on the discussion in this thread I added some baking soda to the pot the last time I cooked beans. I finally managed a pot of beans with the perfect texture.

I'm actually cooking a large pot right now to pack up for our trip. Properly seasoned with garlic and ginger they travel well. Combined with other ingredients they'll be good for any meal. (Add to eggs in the morning, roll up with vegetables and cheese in a tortilla, eat alone with corn bread... this might not be a menu you want to attempt for the first time on a long car trip.
 
Deb Rebel
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Casie Becker wrote:Based on the discussion in this thread I added some baking soda to the pot the last time I cooked beans. I finally managed a pot of beans with the perfect texture.

I'm actually cooking a large pot right now to pack up for our trip. Properly seasoned with garlic and ginger they travel well. Combined with other ingredients they'll be good for any meal. (Add to eggs in the morning, roll up with vegetables and cheese in a tortilla, eat alone with corn bread... this might not be a menu you want to attempt for the first time on a long car trip.



Baking soda is bean magic...

Also if you eat a lot of legumes you do adapt to them and don't peel the paint on the outside of the car or warp the siding of your house ... my diet is heavily legume based now and my spouse's, isn't. We can tell when we both eat my favorite lentil dishes, for example. Lots of good tips here in this thread!  (I can vouch for don't add tomatoes until near the end of your cooking. In my early married years I had soaked off a bunch of navy beans then set them for from scratch baked beans and added tomato based stuff at the start of the simmer in the crockpot (that would reach bubbling). After fifteen hours the beans finally softened enough to eat, they were still miserable. Never again, cook them then add the tomato stuff at the end! What should have been 3-4 hours turned into eat a meal and toss the little hard bullets)
 
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Deb, I've experienced the tomato thing with beans also, amazing but true

We don't pressure cook beans (except garbanzos, briefly) after reading sally fallon's thoughts about that years ago.

she says in 'Nourishing Traditions'......"Equipment that should not be found in the kitchens of conscientious cooks"
The only two she lists are microwaves, for obvious reasons, and pressure cookers for the following...

"This is a relative newcomer to the culinary scene.  The danger is that pressure cookers cook foods too quickly and at temperatures above the boiling point.  A flameproof casserole is ideal for grains as well as for stews.  Traditional cuisines always call for a long, slow cooking of grains and legumes."


This was all she had to say about pressure cookers in 'Nourishing Traditions'.  Not exactly convincing I guess, but good enough for me.  I do still pressure cook garbanzos briefly after soaking and simmering for a long while.  Just can't seem to get rid of that last bit of crunchy without.  Otherwise all of our beans (and we eat some every day) are cleaned then brought to a boil, turned off and left lidded for an hour or two, drained and then simmered in fresh water until done....sometimes in the slow cooker.

When we cooked on a wood stove, though, it was so easy, just put on the pot of beans to simmer for the day and keep topping up the water if necessary.

Once we started eating a bit of fermented food, usually kraut, with our beans...gas isn't a problem any more.

edited to add a couple things.....

 
r ranson
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What a great quote from Nourishing Traditions (love that book and sally fallon!).

I'm leaning that way myself.  My favourite beans are cooked in a clay pot, on the stove (beans, water, herbs, and if I have it a scrag end of ham, bacon, or cheese that is too hard to grate that I found in the back of the fridge).  The clay pot is sensitive to sudden changes in temperature, so if the ingredients aren't all at room temp to start, then I heat them on low for the first half hour.  Then I turn up the stove to the spot where it maintains a low boil (3 and 3/4s out of 10 on one burner, number 4 on the other - each burner is different).  It takes a while to get to a boil; when it gets that hot, I might turn it up a bit to make certain it has a nice boil to 'kill' the antinutrients, then it cooks.  Put this on after breakfast and it's ready early afternoon, but tastes better the next day.  I like about half the beans to be mushy, so I'll either cook it a bit longer or use two different beans with slightly different cooking times (but not too different), like adzuki and navy beans.

Since this thread started 'till our heatwave started a couple of weeks ago, I had been doing one of these pots each week.  When the pot is cool, it goes in the fridge and we scoop out how many beans we want for a meal and heat them up, adding to it what ingredients we want that day - tomatoes, sausage, curry, leftovers, whatever.  

I had been doing this in the pressure cooker before, and I still love my pressure cooker.  The clay pot beans are far easier to digest, but the pressure cooker means I can eat a healthy meal in a hurry (since I cook just about everything from scratch).  


What type of pot did you use on the woodstove?  I think mine gets too hot for a clay pot, perhaps cast iron?  The one in this house isn't really designed for cooking, just heating with a flat top.
 
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What type of pot did you use on the woodstove?  I think mine gets too hot for a clay pot, perhaps cast iron?  The one in this house isn't really designed for cooking, just heating with a flat top.



I almost always used cast iron and occasionally a heavy stainless on the woodstove...it was our heat stove but also had a nice surface for cooking...I could do flat breads right on the iron and could cook most things and boil water....no plates to remove as on a cook stove so there were limits.

I have a clay pot...shaped like a pitcher with bits of mica in it and intended to cook in....made recently.   I love it on the gas stove with an open flame, but I never could get it to heat up enough on the top of our wood stove due to the shape of the bottom...I think it was intended for open flame cooking.  It probably would have worked well on my old wood cook stove where I could remove a plate above the fire box.

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r ranson
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My pea harvest is in.  This year I grew 'assorted soup peas landrace', Japanese Snow, and Blue Pod Desiree.  All three seem to make a good soup pea... or at least they look good in dry forum.  

I'm keen to put them through their paces in the kitchen.  Any ideas on recipes?  I'm looking to cook each soup pea three ways (one plane, one as a pea soup, and another way).

Only... I have just about zilch experience cooking whole dry peas.

Inspire me!
 
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Sprouted Pea Pizza:

I like sprouting either yellow peas or green peas.  After they are well sprouted, a couple of days, I then cook them.

I like to add the sprouted peas to our pizzas which I add some fried onions and any vegetables I have on hand.  Sometimes, I add some leftover meat, whatever I have on hand that I can cube.

 
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I'm glad to see a bean cooking thread here.  I've never had beans as part of my life but the more I garden the more I want to try.  I bought a few kinds from Ranch Gordo.  The first one I tried was a large white bean called Royal Corona.  I soaked them over night then set them to boil.  After about 45 min I tasted one and it was firm, not crunchy and had an amazing sweet, nutty flavor.  They were white with red-purple streaks.  I didn't know if they were done or not so I cooked them longer and tasted every 20 min or so.  Eventually they tasted like what I expect from beans (not all that great) and had the mushy texture and red-brown color I normally associate with beans.

Were they done while they were still white?  I asked RG and they persisted in ignoring me.

How do you tell if beans are done cooking?
 
Tyler Ludens
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I've read that they should be cooked until you can mush them with your tongue against the roof of your mouth.

I'm determined to learn to cook more with beans, persuaded by R Ranson about their value as a source of minerals and also because I need to cut our food budget by more than half - to about $50 per week for two adults plus a dog and five cats!  We've never eaten many beans, but I think I can add them to some things we usually eat, like curry, or eat the things we have them in, like chili, more often.

 
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Some books suggest beans are best when cooked until mushy and soft.  Others say beans taste best when cooked a lot less.  So long as the bean isn't crunchy inside, the theory goes, it should be cooked enough to eat.  

I can't really say myself how accurate this is, as I like mushy beans.  But some authors really like the beans to have a firm texture, not much softer than the skin.
 
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I would stop cooking the beans at the point that I was happy with the flavor. If I were really worried that it wasn't cooked enough, I would eat a small amount and see if I became nauseated within the next three hours. So long as any phytohaemagglutinin in the beans has been destroyed the texture is purely a matter of preference and the needs of specific recipes.

According to the Huffington Post destroying the poison takes 10 minutes of boiling, and cooking in a slow cooker that doesn't reach that temperature will actually make beans more toxic, so be sure to come to a full boil.
 
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I am in the camp that beans should hold their shape in the pot but be soft in your mouth.  I find anything else unpleasant.

But, for those new to beans, let's also talk about salt.  Beans need salt to bring out the depth of flavor.  A bean that tastes bland will suddenly pop with flavor at the right amount of salt.  At lot of these recipes have you adding a teaspoon of salt to a pot.  I imagine their cookbook editors were terrified of people with high blood sugar.  Obviously, you don't want to over-salt, but if your beans are tasty boring, carefully up the salt and see if you hit a new flavor threshold.
 
Deb Rebel
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K Putnam wrote:I am in the camp that beans should hold their shape in the pot but be soft in your mouth.  I find anything else unpleasant.

But, for those new to beans, let's also talk about salt.  Beans need salt to bring out the depth of flavor.  A bean that tastes bland will suddenly pop with flavor at the right amount of salt.  At lot of these recipes have you adding a teaspoon of salt to a pot.  I imagine their cookbook editors were terrified of people with high blood sugar.  Obviously, you don't want to over-salt, but if your beans are tasty boring, carefully up the salt and see if you hit a new flavor threshold.



If you can't have sodium chloride (common table salt) you can use potassium chloride. (as long as your kidneys are healthy, and try to limit your consumption to 5-6 grams (about a teaspoon) a day.) Beans and eggs are two things that definitely need salt of some kind.
 
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Casie Becker wrote:.... If I were really worried that it wasn't cooked enough, I would eat a small amount and see if I became nauseated within the next three hours...



Since I'm totally new to beans, would you give me an idea what you mean by, "a small amount"?  Is it a few beans?  A few ounces?  A small handful?

Thanks for the great advice!
 
Casie Becker
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Okay, I've never been poisoned by my beans. I like my beans to be very soft and so I don't think I've ever boiled beans for less than an hour (usually more).  I would probably eat about a 1/4 cup or less if I were trying it. But, looking for more details on this leads to several articles claiming the worst offender is the red kidney bean and that as few as 4 or 5 beans could make you sick.

Especially for those of you who are just starting to experiment with beans, I'd say err on the side of caution. Some of the milder symptoms of the poison sound like the same reactions you'd get from introducing large amounts of perfectly cooked beans to a digestive system that isn't prepared for that much fiber. Keeping to small amounts while you experiment will minimize the chances of both problems.
 
Casie Becker
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Probably old news to many of you, but I think I've finally figured out what I did wrong every time I tried to make Boston Baked Beans. Last time I made a large pot of beans I added a lot of fresh ginger. Very basic really; just ginger, garlic and salt. Ginger must be the missing ingredient.

Of course, I'd still have to add molasses, but I think I preferred the less sugary version I ended up with. It went well with eggs at breakfast, BBQ brisket for one dinner and mixed well with chili seasonings in later. Yes, I always cook my beans in big batches.
 
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