Food storage. What did you think I was going to say? Today we are going to be looking at how legumes (beans, peas and lentils) can be incorporated into your food storage plan. Right now, I have a 25 pound bag of the most stale pinto beans that can possibly exist on the planet in the bottom of my food storage. I like to tell on myself so you can see how perfectly flawed I am. This is a do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do scenario.
Okay, I actually have some fresh ones too.
What’s that? How do I know if a little hard brown bean is fresh or stale? Well, the only actual true way to tell is to cook them. Stale beans won’t soften no matter how much you cook them and if I had to guess, that big bag I have would probably cook up to taste like the food they have been packaged with all these years. Kind of like a bag of Halloween candy that mingles too long—it all starts tasting the same.
Keeping beans and other dried legumes is fairly simple and has big benefits including
Using your food storage beans
Store your beans in a cool, dry place away from light. I like to seal the ones I really use (not my stale bag) in mylar food storage bags so I know for sure that all light, air and bugs are sealed out.
To use them, you can dramatically speed your cooking time by soaking them overnight before using. In the morning, drain off your water and then add more fresh water to cover.
Avoid the myth of adding baking soda to the water because it pulls the nutrients out of the beans and only add salt once your beans are soft—salt can make them tough if added to the cooking water too early. If you’re like me, I like to add a chunk of bacon. If you have that you can add it or store ham bullion for flavoring and it’s pretty close.
Unique uses for leftovers
Extra dried beans can be ground into bean flour if you have a mill, or soaked ones can substitute for oil in baked goods. Add them to fudge (yes—do you want the recipe?), cakes, cookies and more and no one will know the difference.