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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We eat beans about once a week here sometimes more. We started our bean venturing about a year ago and
them. We used canned beans for convenience and also out of ignorance. We have tempted to use dried beans several times (including tonight) and they just taste so bland...what are we doing wrong? We have tried the soaking overnight method, the quick boiling method, and most recently the boil on stove, pressure cooker method...all come out as soft beans with no taste...any ideas? Also, is there an additional benefit to dried beans (nurtritional or otherwise) -- I know they are cheaper and packaging is less, anything else? TIA
 

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Maybe the beans just aren't terribly fresh? A lot of dried package beans in a grocery store are actually pretty old. I get my beans in bulk from a health food store with high turnover. In a regular grocery store, they probably don't get bought as quickly 'cause so many people are into convenience.

I soak beans in water for a few hours (or overnight) and then cook in the same water with some other added with NO SALT. Don't use salt in the initial cooking, otherwise the beans will never get a good "cooked" texture.

Then, I add stuff. Like, put a little olive oil in a pan, throw in a little cumin, salt, rosemary and cinnamon, cook for 30-60 seconds, add chopped onions and garlic, saute until translucent, add the sauted stuff to the pot of beans. (Probably drained some of the water, unless I'm making a stew.)

I never use canned beans. Waaaay too expensive and too much packaging.

 

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I think Sohj is right about the turnover. It says something similar in my "Bean Book".

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Originally Posted by sohj
I never use canned beans. Waaaay too expensive and too much packaging.

I once read something about the effects of the can on the contents. Something to do with inducing early puberty in rats? I will have a dig around & see what I can find.

ETA: Found it - here. It's from a series of articles that ran in the UK paper the Guardian, in which one of their journalists led an "ethical life" for a year, writing fortnightly columns on the experience. There was an audit team that came in for each aspect of life. They were a really interesting read. Anyway


Quote:
Mike, meanwhile, is rummaging through our tinned produce. He holds up a tin of kidney beans. "Some food cans are lined with a chemical called Bisphenol A, which is a suspected hormone disrupter," he says. "Some research has shown it to advance puberty in mice. Therefore, you might want to cut down on the amount of canned food you use.
 

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We eat beans for at least one meal every day, usually two meals. Occasionally I'll use canned beans, but when I do, I only use Eden brand. Their beans are cooked with kombu, to reduce gassage. When I cook dried beans, I use kombu as well. I usually use the quick soak method--cover beans and kombu by about 2 inches of water, boil for 2 minutes, cover, and remove from heat. Let sit for at least an hour (I've left them overnight as well), RINSE well, cover by about 2 inches again with fresh water, boil, then simmer until cooked, then drain. I always season the beans before I use them. You can season while cooking or after cooking and just simmer for a little while.
 

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Okay, I forgot to give some seasoning ideas! We love black beans simmered with some minced garlic and Mexican seasonings. I use a mix from Whole Foods called Mexican Fiesta, but you could just sprinkle on some chili powder, cumin, and oregano. You could stir in some diced tomatoes, top with avocado and chopped cilantro, and serve on brown rice.

I use chickpeas for salads, hummus, curries, in soups....I love chickpeas!


Pinto beans can be whizzed up in the food processor or mashed with a potato masher with some garlic, onion, and mexican seasonings for fat-free refried beans. Eat them as is or throw them in folded tortillas for quesadillas, with or without cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for about 8-10 minutes.

There are a LOT of bean recipes online. Check out www.fatfreevegan and www.vegweb.com for tons of great bean recipes. They don't have to be just plain old beans!
 

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You might try some dried beans that don't need soaking first - like split peas, lentils, and pearl barley. I just made a lentil salad that is so easy and yummy - here's a link, just triple the recipe and add a lot of cumin and curry while cooking, and more to the salad. I also like to add a little bit of hot sauce to the finished product and I serve it cold.

http://salad.allrecipes.com/az/Medit....asp?lnkid=563

I try to use dried beans because it is SO much cheaper. I like to do the quick boil method too - boil for 2 min, remove from heat for an hour, drain, add water, cook until done, about 45 min depending on the bean.

You can also cook beans much quicker in a pressure cooker. If they're bland, try making bean soups or salads, add rice or bulgur, veggies, garlic & onion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm not sure it has to do with how we are cooking them. We certainly have the seasonings we like -- ACV, fresh oregano, mexican spices, garlic, onion, red pepper, etc....yummy! It is just when we make dried beans there is no flavor -- and I mean no flavor. I would go with the "not fresh" argument, except this is at least the fourth time this has happened....we can't have that much bad luck. People's soaking methods and cooking methods sound very similar to ours.............
I just don't know what to think.
 

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AliciaO, I just thought of something else. Maybe when you use the dry beans, you don't add enough salt with the spices (after the initial bean-only cooking has happened). I find beans take a LOT of salt to be "salty" and maybe this, plus how much of the seasoning you put in makes a difference?



Try making a batch "by taste" rather than "by recipe" if you aren't cooking that way already.



Or, I can send you some beans I think taste great.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by AliciaO
I'm not sure it has to do with how we are cooking them. We certainly have the seasonings we like -- ACV, fresh oregano, mexican spices, garlic, onion, red pepper, etc....yummy! It is just when we make dried beans there is no flavor -- and I mean no flavor. I would go with the "not fresh" argument, except this is at least the fourth time this has happened....we can't have that much bad luck. People's soaking methods and cooking methods sound very similar to ours.............
I just don't know what to think.
It sounds like you aren't adding as much salt or salty flavorings as the canned beans have. I know, salt is not a beneficial ingredient. But it does make foods taste better. You can use tamari, Bragg's Liquid Aminos or another soy sauce, miso (mixed in at the end). Even kombu gets some flavor from saltiness (though it tenderizes and gives flavor because it is a natural source of MSG.) It's amazing how much more flavorful bean juice (cooking water, I mean) is with a little salt!

My best dried-bean experiences have been with chickpeas and with lentils, for what that's worth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You Mamas Rock! Dh made the salt comment tonight after we trudge through another tasteless bean dinner....I am committed to figuring out dried beans. I'll give it another shot next week, with added salt with my seasonings. Thanks so much!
 

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ITA that it's probably the salt. Canned foods generally have a generous amount of salt added; that's why they are tasty. It's better to eat less salt, so maybe it'll just take a while for your tastebuds to get used to lower salt cooking.
 

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If you do add salt, for most beans you should add it at the end of cooking. I don't know if it's true, but bean lore has it that salt inhibits the beans becoming tender. I believe that black soybeans are the exception, according to Lorna Sass.

If you want your salt intake to be as low as possible, have individual eaters add the salt or soy sauce at the table.
 

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I always cook dry beans (chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, pinto beans, soy beans, black-eyed peas...) with no salt. But we never eat them plain either. I cook them in quantity, package them for the freezer, then just toss them in whatever meal I'm making - the flavorings are added with the meal. Maybe we've just adjusted to salt-free cooking? We also buy from the organic bulk bins at our nfs...
 

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nak

i have found adding salt to early cooking stage to be beneficial - no problem with texture, and really increases flavor inside the bean (same idea as adding salt to pasta water)
adding an acid (vinegar, tomato) affects texture of neans if added to early stage cooking.

i am into food science, research that i have read states early salt is not harmful
also adding a bayleaf to cooking water makes a difference
 
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