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Bean-Eaters Will Rule the World

Posted Oct 01 2008 9:06pm
These economic times are more than a bit trying. In an effort to help the environment, I got a diesel car 5 months ago. Since then the cost of diesel at the pump has gone up more than $1.40 per gallon, the price of gas just a few years ago. So, money savings need to happen somewhere. And since I spend a great deal of my money on food (as human fuel), this is where I am learning to be even more economy-minded, as well as ecologically-minded.

For me, the best ways to do that are to eat low on the food chain, buy in bulk, sustainable or organic, and local, and cook in the pressure cooker. It's possible for me to do this with beans.

And since it's spring, the fava bean comes to mind. I was at the farmer's market the other day and someone was buying 4 large fava bean pods. I was quite amazed as there might be 1/4 cup of beans in there. She explained that she doesn't like beans. To that I responded, "Bean eaters will rule the world."

David, of Crescent Moon Farm, whose partner Jill is the farmer, said, "We already do." And while I am not sure about that, I do know that if you want to save money on food, turn to beans as a big part of your diet.

My local sustainably grown beans are expensive at $5 per pound or more. The interesting thing about that is that when you figure out the cost per 1 cup serving, it is often less than $1, which is often hard to achieve with animal protein.

And if you've read what I've written about the latest Carnegie Mellon study, if you switch to eating vegetarian just 1 day each week, it's the equivalent of eliminating 1160 miles of driving each year.

I like to make big batches of beans and store them in my freezer so that I only need to cook once for many meals. Just the other day I made a vegetable dish in the pressure cooker in 3 minutes and at the end added my frozen, cooked Hidalgo (must mean super yummy in Spanish) beans. It was very filling and really delicious.

Beans in the pressure cooker, especially the heirloom (older) varieties, cook quickly. I always presoak with a quick-soak, and the cooking time ranges from 4 minutes at pressure for pinto beans to 14 minutes at pressure for garbanzo beans. Soy beans take longer but I rarely cook them.

Most beans cost less than $2 per pound. You can easily make a big pot of vegetarian chili or lentil soup for less than $5 and feed yourself and your family well. I want you to become one of the people who rule this world. So, eat your beans today.
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