My husband Ed is a naturally talented cook and is really good at whipping something together with whatever is left in our fridge. He's a natural who never follows a recipe and spoils me rotten with his concoctions. One of his specialties is a plant based diet staple: beans (lucky me!). He perfected his technique during duck hunting trips with his buddies to Eastern North Carolina. It became a serious tradition to start up a big pot of pintos as soon as they arrived to their trailer (although now he doesn't use the fat-back or streak-o-lean as they called it). I so wish I had a picture of the guys cooking beans in a trailer in their camo gear...
Beans are seriously nutritious, packed with protein and super-fibrous. Adding a daily serving of beans to your diet will help improve your digestive health, reduce your cancer risk and help you lose weight by suppressing your appetite. One cup carries between 50 to 100 calories, only 1 gram of fat (the good kind!), a whopping 8 grams of protein, 119% of your daily recommended allowance of Vitamin C and 8% of your iron allowance. They can also help decrease your heart disease risk thanks to fiber with 1/2 cup of black beans containing 7 grams (women need 25 grams daily and men require 38). Eat plenty and don't worry about the Bean-O :)
The difference between canned beans and cooking dried ones is NIGHT AND DAY - they taste SO UNBELIEVABLY BETTER when you cook them yourself. Plus you eliminate exposure to BPA from the cans and save a good bit of $$$. Ed is spilling the beans and sharing his secrets - here are his fool proof steps for preparing dried beans:
- Rinse the beans really good and sift for rocks. Somehow little rice sized pebbles will sneak into your beans since the machines aren't able to sift them out - sure enough we find a pebble almost every time!
- Cover the beans and add an additional two inches of water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. (Don't watch or it will take longer).
- Once it comes to a nice roaring boil turn off the heat, put the lid on and let sit for about two hours. This step really helps speed up the soaking process. Option #2: let beans sit in a pot of water overnight, no need to boil.
- Rinse off the beans thoroughly and rinse the pot removing any gravy.
- Cover the beans with 2 inches of fresh water like in step #1 and bring to a boil again. Turn the heat down to a simmer and add 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of olive oil. Give a little stir and then cover with the lid.
My sweet husband trying not to pose
- Simmer until done, which is about 2 to 3 hours. Take a peek every once in a while to make sure the beans are still covered with water (add water if needed).