Food Storage: Beans

Okay. It’s time. I’ve been putting this off long enough. I can’t put it off anymore. It’s time to talk about beans. Yup, beans. As in ‘Beans, beans, the magical fruit. The more you eat, the more you…’ uh, never mind. (Who came up with that saying anyway??) 🙂
Beans intimidate me. Yes, I have multiple #10 cans of beans in my storage like a good little prepared girl, but if I actually had to USE them, I would be in a world of hurt. Not a clue. I know there’s something about soaking them, I know there’s something about cooking them, but after that… I’m blank.

Yes, I cook with beans (occasionally), but with the smaller cans of already prepared beans, which I love for their simplicity, but not their price. So I would really love to learn more about how to use dry beans because they are conserve a lot of space and cost a whole lot less! So we’ll get into that next week. But to kick off our BEAN lessons, I want to start with a bit of info I learned a while back as to WHY we should be eating beans.

I attended a ‘taster’s table’ meeting with the women at my church in which we had an enjoyable evening of tasting all the great things you can make with beans (a delicious corn salsa, soups, dip… things you would expect… as well as cookies, brownies, fudge, and a spice cake! …things you would NOT expect!) as well as learning about the pros and cons of the bean world. And as it turns out, there are plenty of reasons we should be eating beans! I left the night a converted believer in the power of beans. And of course, after all that bean sampling, I woke up the next morning a truly converted believer in the REAL power of beans. 😀

That being said… a word to the wise: Start Slow.

The Pros are so numerous: Beans aid in weight loss (enough said! Where do I sign up?!) because they fill you up; they reduce the risk of certain cancers (pancreas, colon, breast, prostate, and intestinal); lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol (and they have no cholesterol in them); lower the risk of heart disease; they are an excellent source of low-fat protein; they make a whole protein if eaten with whole grains, dairy, nuts or meat in the same day; they lower your blood pressure by relaxing the arteries and veins; and finally they are high in B Vitamins, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Wow.
The Cons? Gas. This one stinkin’ (no pun intended) con is often a big enough deterrent to keep us from enjoying all the benefits beans have to offer. I will be the first to admit, as I mentioned before, I woke up the next morning after our activity with quite the rumbly tummy. Beans are not generally a part of my daily caloric intake, so my body did not respond positively to the sudden overload. There are, however, ways to thwart the harsh effects beans can have on our digestive systems:

  1. Start slow in your conversion process. Don’t just change your whole diet overnight. Allow your body some time to adjust to the effects beans will have on it, and hopefully soon your body will be able to keep up with all the beans you want! 🙂
  2. Eat canned beans, or soak beans and pour off the water (add fresh water to cook), or pressure cook the beans. And,
  3. Add Bean-O to the top of your shopping list. It is apparently quite effective. You can get it as a pill (take one before eating), or a liquid (and a drop… or a few… to your first bite).

Or I guess there’s a fourth option too…

But who really wants to walk around with a clothespin on their nose? 😀

Anyway, like I said, ever since that meeting I’ve tried to be better about using beans in my cooking. But I still have so much to learn. So starting this week I’m going to work on learning about how to actually cook the dry beans, different methods, ways to use them, and I will of course be sharing all of this with you. 🙂 So stay tuned and if you have any great suggestions, PLEASE SHARE! I need all the inspiration I can get when it comes to this area.
Good luck in your efforts, and don’t forget to eat your beans! 🙂

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