Cooking With Beans
Contributed by: Crystal Miller
Beans are one of the main food staples of our home. I serve bean
based meals to my family 2 to 3 times weekly. Beans are a very
high quality, nutritious, budget friendly food for your family.
They are a good source of soluble fiber, the kind that helps
lower cholesterol. Beans in general, are good sources of things
like, folate, potassium, iron, manganese, copper and zinc. They
are low in fat and when combined with grains or a little meat
they amply supply your diet with its needed protein.
One of the main drawbacks that people complain about is that
beans cause gas. If you are not use to beans in your diet, your
body has more trouble digesting them. So the good news is that
the more you eat beans, the easier it will be for your body to
digest them and you will find that gas problems will greatly
diminish. If you don't eat a lot of beans at all then I would
suggest that you slowly start adding them to your regular menus.
Begin by serving them once a week and then more often as time
goes on. Basically you need to have them as part of your regular
diet in order to build up natural good intestinal flora that
enables you to digest them.
If you are new to cooking beans or have had less than
satisfactory results in cooking beans then here are a few tips to
help. To begin with I never bother with soaking beans. I don't
even do the fast soak, the one where you boil the beans for 2
minutes and then turn off heat, cover pan and let them sit for 1
hour. I simply put my beans in a large pot and cover with the
appropriate amount of water, add salt and cook. I think that the
soaking does help cut down the cooking time, but I have never
found that the soaking helps with anything else. The other thing
that I "always" do is add salt to my beans right at the
beginning. I have read in many places that salt will prevent
your beans from cooking. I have never experienced this. When I
salt the beans ahead of time I find that the beans are very
flavorful and the bean broth is delicious. Another important tip
to remember when cooking beans is that foods high in acid such as
tomatoes will cause your beans not to cook. Make sure high acid
foods are added `after' the beans are cooked and soft.
Basic Bean Cooking Directions
- 1 cup dry beans, any variety
- 4 cups water
- 1 t. salt
Put all ingredients into a cooking pot and bring to a boil.
Cover and turn heat down to somewhere between medium and low.
You want the boil to continue, just not to fast. Simmer beans
for about 2 to 3 hours or until soft and completely cooked. Don't
let the beans run out of water so check them now and again and
add more water if needed. This recipe may be multiplied many
times depending on how many beans you need. You can freeze
cooked beans in 2 cup portions to use in any recipe that calls
for a can of beans. This is very handy to have on hand and much
more inexpensive than buying canned beans.
Here is one of my family's favorite budget friendly bean meals.
Serves 8 to 10
Brown hamburger with onions and green pepper. Add cooked beans.
In a small bowl mix remaining ingredients. Add to hamburger bean
mixture and simmer long enough to get everything hot and blend
- 1 lb hamburger
- 4 to 5 cups cooked beans, we like to use black beans
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 1 green or red pepper, chopped
- 1 ½ cups ketchup, fruit sweetened if possible
- 2T Worcestershire sauce
- 1 6oz. can tomato paste
- ¾ cup water
- 2 to 3T apple cider vinegar, according to taste
- 3T Sucanat or Brown Sugar
- 1t dry mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
Serve on homemade whole wheat French Bread Rolls
Crystal Miller, 2004
About the Author:
Crystal Miller ( mailto:email@example.com ) is
a mother of 8 children and enjoys her God given role as
wife, homemaker and mother! She has a homemaking and
country living web site called The Family Homestead
http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com and has a free monthly
newsletter called Homestead Happenings. You will find
sign up information on her website.