Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Beans ... or Has-Beans? (Guest Post)

You've heard me talk about using dry beans as a way to save money, stretch meals, and reduce our sodium intake (when dry beans are used instead of canned beans). Today I'm happy to share a guest post from Barbara Salsbury, Author, Personal Food Storage Preparedness Consultant, who has a way to "rescue" those beans that we've had in storage for way too long!

            Some of us have known for years that beans are a good thing to have in our preparedness pantry, as well as a very economical thing to have in our everyday pantry. And then there are some of us who have kept beans in our cupboard for so long our relatives (the much younger ones, of course) are accusing us of having brought them across the plains in our covered wagon.  If this is the case this means you’ve not been eating them, which is what beans are for. Eat them? You’ve got to be kidding. I can hear it now, you are about to join the chorus, “Why those beans have been in that pantry for so long, most of them are hard and wrinkled. I couldn’t cook them if I tried.” (Bingo!)
            Okay, let’s face it, some of us – no names here - have kept beans for so long they fall into the category of not only dried beans, but old beans.  This may mean that some of you may want to put them into the category of “has beans,” which may mean that you secretly are really planning to throw them out.  If you do, I’ll haunt you!
            Old dried beans really are not has beans, they are just older.  Don’t throw out beans you may consider too old. As beans age, the skin becomes tough and the bean will not soak up the water. Instead of discarding them, crack them. If you have a grinder, simply put the beans in with the burrs open,  ¼  to ½ cup at a time, so that the beans are cracked not ground. You may want to run a hand full of grain through the grinder afterwards to clean out the beans. No grinder? Use a sturdy blender. Put it on the coarsest grind or blend possible. If the blender has a pulse button, use it. Just a few beans ¼ to ½ cup at a time.
            What no grinder, no blender?  No problem, use two brown, paper grocery bags, one inside of the other.  Put several cups full of beans inside the bags and double fold over the open end. Put the bag flat on a sidewalk or drive way and smack it with the side of an ordinary hammer. (The regular round end of a hammer will punch holes in the bag and the beans will spill out.
            The cracked beans can now be soaked and used as you would use newer beans. The operative word here is USE.  Another bean key: don’t mix newer beans with older beans in the same container. The newer beans will cook faster than the older. Then you might claim you have bones in those beans. Sorry not so.  Beans soup is good, beans in salads are good, and all kinds of beans are good.

-Barbara Salsbury, Author, Personal Food Storage Preparedness Consultant


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