Food Storage: Legumes......Beans, Beans, Beans....................
Random House Webster's College Dictionary leg•umeˈlɛg yum, lɪˈgyum(n.)
1. any plant of the legume family, esp. one used for feed, food, or as a soil-improving crop.
2. the pod, bean, or pea of such a plant, usu. divided into two parts and often used for food.
Category: Plants, Cooking
Origin of legume: 1670–80; < F légume vegetable < L legūmen pulse, a leguminous plant, der. of legere to gather
Along my journey dealing with food storage, I have come across a few people that have a confused look when I mention the word Legumes….at first thought, maybe they don’t like beans? Then it dawned on me……they don’t know the word Legumes. Don’t laugh you would be surprised how many people don’t know the meaning of the word….so I decided to add the definition of the word, Legumes.
So wanting the scoop on Legumes….this is a must have staple in your pantry and long term food storage. Beans may not be considered a staple here in the US by all people, but they are considered a main staple in many countries. Legumes are considered the richest source of vegetable protein and are a good source of dietary fiber. With that being said, surely you can find a few recipes that your family enjoys that incorporate beans, Chili, Red beans and rice and soup beans are my family favorites.
Why? First of all, Legumes….which include beans, peas and lentils are a good source of protein and fiber. Beans are cholesterol free, low in fat and high in fiber and protein. Second, beans are super easy to store and cook whether fresh, canned or dried. As for long term food storage, both canned and dried should be in your stock. Third, beans are cheap….some might say they give you a lot of bang for your buck.
What type of beans should I store? There are many types of beans that can be used in your food storage. Legumes come in different colors and size. Among my favorites would be the red kidney beans, great northern and black beans, maybe because these are the ones my family uses the most often. Adzuki, Black, Black-eyed, Black Turtle, Garbanzo, Great Northern, Kidney, Lentils, Lima, Mung, Navy, Pink, Pinto, Small Red, Soy and pea are great for drying and storing. Of course food storage, first and foremost should come down to personal preference ….eat what you store and store what you eat. I recommend that you store a variety of beans, purchase packages of each of the different types that you/family will consume and learn how to use them. One rule of thumb to follow…white beans work best for baked goods, while black beans fit well into Mexican foods and pinto and kidney beans into soups and casseroles.
Storing Dry Legumes – Store in a cool dry location. Colder storage temperatures will increase shelf life. According to BYU beans in food grade bags have a shelf life of 1 year or more, while packaged in #10 cans or Mylar bags with oxygen removed they have a shelf life of 10 years or more. Some resources state if stored correctly in a #10 or Mylar bag with oxygen removed and correct storage conditions that they should have a shelf life of 30+ years.
I recommend if storing in large quantities, to divide your product into Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers and then place into food-grade plastic buckets with a tight fitting lid.
Storing Canned Legumes – Store in a dry location and don’t forget to rotate your supple.
Tip: Along with losing some nutritional value during the aging process, beans also lose their oils; resist water absorption (which means they won’t swell when soaked). If the beans won’t swell (which means they will be hard), try using them for flour…grind them up into bean flour.
HOW MANY BEANS SHOULD I HAVE IN MY LONG-TERM FOOD STORAGE? - For a one year supply, you need about 60 pounds of dried beans or legumes per person per year.
WHERE CAN I PURCHASE BEANS FOR MY FOOD STORAGE? - You can purchase beans anywhere from your local grocery store to a specialty food store or you can visit your local LDS Cannery.
1. Grow your own and store
2. Local Grocery Store
3. Local Specialty Food Store, ethnic, whole food markets etc….
4. Local LDS Cannery
5. LDS Distribution Services Online
6. Thrive Life
7. Honeyville Grains
8. Augason Farms
9. Emergency Essentials
Quality & Purchase - Dry beans are graded U.S. No.1 (best) through U.S. No. 3, based on defects. Lesser quality beans are generally graded “substandard” or “sample”.
Packaging - All beans should be stored in a moisture proof food grade container in the absence of oxygen and light. Oxygen can lead to rancidity of bean oils and light will fade the color of the bean. This container could be a Mylar bag, polyethylene bags, plastic buckets with Mylar linings or #10 food grade enamel lined cans. Store your beans in manageable amounts such as 10 lb bags; this will also help with rotation. If you are storing smaller amounts for a short time then a canning car or 2 liter bottle with an oxygen absorber will work if stored in a dark place. Most importantly it allows easier inspection and if contamination does occur it does not allow exposure to your whole stock of beans. Also several smaller bags can be places inside a 5 gallon plastic bucket.
Note: Rodents and insects can penetrate plastic bags
Types of Legumes:
1. Adzuki Bean - Sweet and nutty, small red-brown bean frequently used in Japanese desserts. High in protein, fiber and folic acid
2. Alfalfa – member of the pea family. Eaten as sprouts – good in salads, soups or topping on sandwiches. High levels of antioxidants.
3. Black Beans – oval bean with a black skin with a sweet nuttier flavor. These beans are very popular in Mexican, Central and South American dishes in addition to soups. They are high in anti-oxidants which makes them great for long term food storage.
4. Black-eyed Peas- pale-colored with a prominent black spot. Used with veggies High if fiber
5. Black Turtle Bean– small shiny bean, dense meaty texture. Popular in vegetarian dishes such as the black bean burrito. High in fiber.
6. Garbanzo Bean – creamed colored round bean, nutlike taste and buttery texture. Another name Chickpeas. Use in salads and soups. High in fiber and protein.
7. Great Northern – large white bean with a distinctive flavor Used in soups. High in fiber
8. Kidney Beans – is a kidney shaped bean, usually dark red in color. These beans hold their shape well during cooking and readily absorb surrounding flavors. Good bean to use in simmered dishes. They are high in anti-oxidants which makes them great for long term food storage. White Kidney beans are known as Cannellini beans.
9. Lentils – small & flat. Variety of colors. Use in salad, soup, casserole or meat filler. High in fiber and magnesium
10. Lima - pale green, plump-bodied and have a slight kidney-shape curve with a buttery flavor and creamy texture. Use in soups and stews
11. Mung – small & green. Bean Sprouts. Can be eaten raw when sprouted or cooked with skin on or off. Easy on the digestive tract, doesn’t usually cause a gassy reaction. Used in soups or casseroles, egg rolls or stir-fry. Good source of Vitamin C.
12. Navy – pea sized white bean. (name came from use from the US Navy) Used in a variety of dishes. Pork n Beans – commercially. High in fiber
13. Pink – small oval shaped pink color bean with a sweet meaty texture. Use in bean salad or substitute for kidney beans. High in fiber.
14. Pinto – small oval pale pink bean with red-brown splotches. (when cooked become a solid pink) Often served with rice, soups, stews and Mexican food – burrito’s or mashed up for refried beans. An excellent source of fiber and the trace mineral molybdenum
15. Small Red – small red bean with a less mealy texture. Use in place of pinto beans. High in fiber.
16. Split pea – regular peas that have been dried and skin removed. Use split pea soup. High in fiber.
17. Soy – vary in size and color. Soy beans have large amounts of protein with very little fat and no cholesterol. You can eat soybeans in many forms, including tofu, the beans themselves (also known as edamame), soy milk, miso, and soy powder.
Nutrition and Allergies:
According to Utah State, “Dry beans average about 22% protein in the seed, the highest protein content of any seed crop. They contain all essential amino acids, except methionine. Methionine can be obtained from corn, rice or meat. Beans are an excellent source of fiber, starch, minerals and some vitamins. Some beans have a human digestion enzyme inhibitor. This enzyme can cause a nutritional deficiency if the beans are eaten raw. Cooking destroys the enzyme. Most beans naturally contain cyanogens4. These are sugars with a cyanide component attached (C-N). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows levels of cyanide in dried beans up to 25 ppm. Small amounts can be handled by the human liver and are not toxic. Cooking will also help break down and remove the cyanide. Toxicity levels are hard to reach -- It would require a person eating approximately one pound of beans for each pound of their weight at one sitting.”
Use from storage:
How to use your Legumes from your pantry / short or long term food storage? This should be the next question you are asking yourself. There are endless possibilities when it comes to using legumes, such as soups, stews, casseroles, side dishes, main dishes etc… Another way is to replace the butter and oil in your favorite baked goods with your beans. How you ask? Replace the oil, mash the beans with enough liquid to make a puree and use it in place of the oil (1 cup of oil = 1 cup of bean puree). For butter in a recipe, then use whole cooked drained beans in your recipe with a ratio 1 to 1 (1 cup of butter = 1 cup of whole cooked drained beans). Sprouting Beans is another use along with bean flour. Let’s discuss these last two topics a bit more…..
Bean Sprouts – I’m not particularly a sprout type of person, so I had to talk to a few friends who are vegetarian who know a bit more than me in this subject…..Beans can very easily be sprouted and used in salads and for toppings on salads. Sprouted beans are high in many nutrients such as B complex vitamins, folic acid, niacin, iron, calcium and magnesium. To sprout beans one should first sort the beans and remove any dirt or rocks, then rinse the beans several times. Then place the beans in a quart jar with one cup of beans to three cups of water and let soak overnight. In the morning, drain the beans and rinse them again. Put a sprouting lid which is just a lid with holes punched it to drain the beans. Rinse the beans each day (so they don’t sour) After three days of doing this they should be one-half inch long….rinse one final time and place in zip lock bag in the fridge and use within a few days
Bean Flour – As dried beans age the beans become hard…..meaning that during the soaking process the beans will no longer rehydrate. This does not mean throw them away….NO….grind them into flour with your hand or electric wheat grinder, grain mill or blender. Bean flour can be used to thicken gravies, soups and sauces or even refried beans (add boiling water and a little salt). Always store bean flour in the fridge.
Dried vs. Canned
Using Dry Legumes – Any of the beans should always be checked and rinsed prior to consuming. Beans need to be soaked before cooking, this process will change the sugars in the beans, which in turns makes them easier to cook and easier to digest. Peas and lentils don’t need to be soaked but should be rinsed.
Using Canned Legumes – Canned beans are ready to eat and don’t need soaked. Rinsing the canned beans from the storing liquid will improve the flavor considerably. Just remember to rotate your cans of beans and most need to be used within two years.
How to cook Dry Beans:
The basic process of cooking dry beans is first to soak the beans, cook – with a 1 to 3 ration of beans to liquid until tender, drain and serve…..Hint: 1 tsp of salt per 1 cup of beans.
Soaking Beans: 3 ways to soak…….purpose of soaking is to rehydrate the bean and reduce cooking time. Hint: Discard the soak water, this will help reduce the gassiness feeling.
1. The Long/Traditional Soak Method: place dry beans in a container covering them with plenty of room temperature water and allow the beans to soak for about 8 to 10 hours or overnight. Tip: Never let your beans soak any longer than 12 hours, they can lose their texture and flavor
2. Quick Soak Method: most commonly used because of the convenience. Place beans and soaking water in a pot and bring them to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cover with a lid and let soak for 1 hour. Drain and then cook according to your preference.
3. Hot Soak Method: Add 5 cups of water for every 1 cup of beans to a pot, bring to a boil and boil for 2 – 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cover and let soak for 1 – 4 hours then discard the water, rinse and then add fresh water and cook to preference. This style is starting to take over as the new way of soaking beans due to convenience
Cooking Beans: the three most common ways….stove-top, crock pot and pressure cooker ·
1. Traditional / Stove-top Method: Place soaked beans (by preference from above) in a pot along with the appropriate amount of water / broth ( 1 to 3 ratio of beans to liquid). Just make sure the beans are covered with liquid by about 1 to 2 inches. Bring the beans to a boil and heat to simmer and cover and allow the beans to cook until tender….this may take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours depending of the variety of the bean. The beans should never be peeking out of the water, if the water/broth is running low add more. Hint: add a little oil or fat of 1 – 2 tsp to reduce boil over’s and add flavor. I wait to add seasonings and salt until halfway through the cooking process this will help with toughness of the beans.
2. Crock Pot or Slow cooker Method: Place the soaked beans in the crock pot along with the correct amount of water / broth and seasoning and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours and then reduce the heat to low and cook for an additional 6 to 8 hours. Once the beans are done cooking then serve. Hint: Keep an eye on the beans while cooking …checking water level.
Important Note: Do not cook kidney beans in a crock pot because the heat does not reach a high enough boiling point to cook the toxins out of the bean. Here is a article concerning this topic…. http://www.foodreference.com/html/artredkidneybeanpoisoning.html
3. Pressure Cooker Method – Place the soaked beans with the appropriate amount of water / broth and seasoning in the pressure.
Follow the manufacturer’s direction for your pressure cooker. But here are some general rules…
There must always be some sort of liquid in your pressure cooker before you cook anything in it. The cooker should never be more than ⅔ full of liquid as there needs to be room for the steam to accumulate.
The safety valve is provided to prevent possible rupture of the cooker itself, it is not an indicator of cooking time.
Turn off the heat when the food has cooked for the amount of time per the recipe (Do not cook the food longer than the recipe or the food may turn to mush)
Lower the pressure inside the cooker – by one of three ways…..Natural Release Method, Quick Release Method or the Cold Water Release Method. Once all the pressure has been removed, remove the lid carefully and remove the food
Tip: While pressure cooking some beans, double your batch and freeze what you don’t use. Generally around 3 cups of beans will equal a can of beans
Key Points and Helpful Hints:
· Legumes are high in fiber and anti-oxidants and high enough in protein to replace meat during an emergency. And if you would add a grain or diary product to a meal with beans then you have a complete protein.
· Tip #1 – pour warm water over the beans and then add 1 tsp. of baking soda while soaking over night this will help reduce the gases that comes from beans, but this could reduce the nutrition value slightly.
· Tip #2 – Do not add acid foods such as tomato’s or vinegar into the pot until the beans are done cooking…acid foods added to early can toughen the beans and make them chewy.
· Tip #3 – Soaking over night will help get the true bean flavor and smooth texture and reduces cooking time
· Search vegetarian cookbooks for recipes using beans
· Make sure to rinse packaged dry beans and look for any dirt, rocks, seed pods, leaves or twigs
Instant Pinto Beans
2. Random House Webster's College Dictionary