Monday, March 4, 2024

How to Cook Dried Beans

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Beans are one of the nicest ways to eat protein. They provide fiber for the bowels, texture to the dish and are (usually) easy on the pocketbook. I came across this method of making three bean salad while rummaging through the fridge one day and I realized I had four open jars of dill pickles; one was half full and the other three only had a pickle or two in the bottom. I put all the pickles in the half full jar, measured out the left-over juice and had about a cup of pickle juice. So, I made three bean salad out of it. Rummager’s Three Bean Salad is like jazz, never the same twice!

I use the basic three step Sort, Soak and Simmer method of cooking dried beans, including garbanzo beans.

Step One) Sort and take out any moldy beans, split beans and ‘not beans’ (rocks, stray corn, that stuff) then wash them in water, discarding any that float.

Step Two) Soak them over night in two times the amount of water as there are beans, (that would be two cups of water for every cup of dried beans) adding ½ to 1 teaspoon (tsp.) salt per cup of beans to the soaking water.

Step Three) In the morning, leave the beans in the soaking water and simmer them for a few hours until they are tender, adding water as needed. (I don’t pour the soaking water off and replace it with fresh water because the salt ions displace the calcium and magnesium ions from the bean skins helping to make those minerals more available to the body.)

After step three when the beans are your type of tender you can pause in the cooking process and freeze them for ease of use. I like two cups per sandwich bag because that is about equal to a 15 oz. can of beans and I can use my home cooked frozen beans in any recipe that calls for a 15 oz can of beans. But if your family is bigger and you have other plans for your beans, quart and gallon bags work just as well.

I try to freeze only as many beans as I will be using within a month. My freezer space is precious, and beans are shelf stable (won’t ‘go bad’) just as they are dried out in a bag. I protect mine from critters (mice) by putting them in plastic totes and checking the totes monthly for chew spots.

Rummager’s Three Bean Salad

One or two cups cooked garbanzo beans

One or two cups cooked red, pinto, black, canary, pink or any other dried bean

One or two cups cooked or canned green beans

¾ to 1½ cup brown or white sugar

¾ to 1½ cup of any combination of excess dill pickle juices

 (If there’s no pickle juice regular vinegar works just fine.)

½ to 1 cup vegetable oil

½ to 1 cup thinly sliced onions (optional)/ Mix all together and enjoy.

In 2000 Michele Priddy left the work force to become a stay-at-home mother and wife. Being a one-income family in today’s society meant she had to learn to budget quickly. Food became a priority early because she wanted the children to have the best nutrition, she could offer them even on a budget. She taught cooking classes at various churches in her community on “ How to stretch the food dollar with simple ingredients”. Michelle has put her kitchen strategies, stories and recipes in booklets, her church newsletter and in her hometown newspaper, The Goldendale Sentinel. We hope you will enjoy her strategies, stories, and recipes. You can contact the Leavenworth Echo at Reporter@leavenworthecho.com  or  Michelle’s email: mykitchenstrategies@gmail.com if you have any questions or comments.

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