Beans are a good source of fiber and are satisfying and can fill you up. In addition to providing a low-fat dietary source of protein, generally they are also richer in calcium than meat!
When trying to eat "meatless", beans are a good source of protein. Add them to brown rice so it becomes a complete protein. However, the best reason to eat your beans is that they taste good and they are available in hundreds of varieties.
Canned or Dried?
Canned beans are great and easy - however remember they are probably very high in sodium. If you decide to use canned beans, you should rinse them thoroughly to help remove some of the sodium. To prepare dried beans:
Rinse thoroughly to remove any dirt (remove any tiny pebbles). Put them in a pot (crock pot works great) and add water so that beans are covered. Use 3 cups of water for every 1 cup of beans. Soak for 10 - 12 hours to soften. At this time they should be ready to cook in dishes such as chili or rice & beans.
If you want to do this faster, place beans in a pot and cover the beans with at least 2 - 3 inches of water. Bring water to a boil for two minutes. Then remove pot from the heat, cover, and allow it to stand for 2 hours. Drain beans.
Generally 1 cup of dried beans will yield 2 - 2 1/2 cups of cooked beans.
Dried beans taste better and are usually more economical. When you prepare beans, cook up a large batch and then divide and freeze for use later on. Refrigerated beans should keep for a week, frozen beans should keep for six months.
Purchasing and storing:
1. Purchase only dried beans that are uniform size and are brightly-colored. Fading is an indicator of long storage. If a bean's surface looks cloudy it may indicate mold growth.
2. Dried beans should be stored in a cool, dry place and in air-tight containers.
Need some serving ideas?
Use in soups, toss into salads or made into a marinaded salad, vegetarian chili, or mash into sandwich spreads and dips......
If you are looking for a good "bean" recipe or information on certain types of beans - feel free to drop me a line!