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SpaghettiWestern

Question about dried bean varieties

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By the way, dried heirloom beans are available at my farmer's market, some of which cost far more than $5.50 a pound.

In comparison, Rancho Gordo comes out ahead as far as I'm concerned.

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I'm making some yellow eye beans from the farmer's market I visit every summer in Maine. I usually use these for baked beans but am trying them as a sub for cannellinis in an Italian preparation.

 

The source is Beth's for those of you fortunate to live in the Mid-Coast region. These beans are from last year so it's a good test of how long they'll last.

 

In an example of not paying attention to the "too many variables rule," I'm adding a whole tomato from the get-go to see whether the whole no-acidic ingredients thing is a canard or not.

 

Report coming later. (Perhaps much later, if the acidic ingredients thing is correct.)

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I'm making some yellow eye beans from the farmer's market I visit every summer in Maine. I usually use these for baked beans but am trying them as a sub for cannellinis in an Italian preparation.

 

The source is Beth's for those of you fortunate to live in the Mid-Coast region. These beans are from last year so it's a good test of how long they'll last.

 

In an example of not paying attention to the "too many variables rule," I'm adding a whole tomato from the get-go to see whether the whole no-acidic ingredients thing is a canard or not.

 

Report coming later. (Perhaps much later, if the acidic ingredients thing is correct.)

Did you ever get around to trying the Jamaican black beans and rice recipe I posted?

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Hi Andie!

 

Can't believe I spaced on that. Gonna try it for tomorrow, want to start the soaking now. I don't have any Black Valentine beans in the pantry, but I do have:

 

Ayocote Negro

Midnight Black Beans

Negro de Arbol

 

of these three, which do you think would be most appropriate for the recipe?

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Hi Andie!

 

Can't believe I spaced on that. Gonna try it for tomorrow, want to start the soaking now. I don't have any Black Valentine beans in the pantry, but I do have:

 

Ayocote Negro

Midnight Black Beans

Negro de Arbol

 

of these three, which do you think would be most appropriate for the recipe?

I think the Negro de Arbol are more like "turtle beans" - at least the ones I have tried. 

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Did you ever get around to trying the Jamaican black beans and rice recipe I posted?

 

Where might that recipe be?

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America's Test Kitchen tested the acid issue and found that it had to be fairly high to affect the beans. I have found that hard water is much more of an issue. I used to have to cook beans for a restaurant every morning, and found out pretty quickly that filtered water worked a LOT better than our tap water, which happens to be extremely hard. Salt during soaking helps make up for a lack of minerals in the water. (see linked article about hard water & beans)

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Absolutely no problem from the whole tomato - in fact I'd say the beans cooked faster than normal (overnight soak in salted water). This recipe is great, I highly recommend it:

 

http://bitebymichelle.com/2011/10/07/yellow-eyed-beans-tuscan-style-and-our-first-trip-to-italy/

 

Soaked the beans in salted water overnight, and used the soaking liquid as the cooking liquid. Instead of a heavy bottomed pan I used a glazed earthenware bean pot with a lid. I added some of the olive oil to the cooking mixture instead of only at the end. Tomato went in whole and unpeeled - a nice ripe heirloom. After bringing to a simmer, I cooked the beans in a 250F oven for about 60-75 minutes. I didn't bother removing any scum. Drained and boiled down the broth to about a cup and re-added it. Covered and let sit at room temp for about 15 minutes.

 

Otherwise followed the recipe to a T. As good as cannellinis. A bit subtler, not quite as meaty, but slightly more delicate and pungent. I could have eaten twice as much of it.

 

beths_beans.jpg

 

beans_cooked.jpg

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Made Andie's Jamaican black beans and rice at last! More on the complete meal in the Dinner thread. 

 

jamaican_black_beans_and_rice.jpg

 

Andie, it was delicious, but I think I have only limited tolerance for that much coconut milk in one week. I should have remembered that I made this only the previous weekend! It actually smelled extraordinary when just the beans, garlic and allspice were cooking. I may try a non-coconut, non-rice version just for fun.

 

Another point: I'm not a fan of these RG negro de arbol beans. Even after 3 hours they still hadn't really become creamy, and they don't have the depth of flavor of some other turtle beans.

 

Which brings me to another topic - which RG beans do you or don't you like? I think some of them are extraordinary, and some are decidedly pedestrian. Here are my favorites and strike-outs:

 

MY RG FAVORITES:

 

- White cannellini - astoundingly delicious every time

- Good Mother Stallard - sui generis, need almost nothing extra in the way of flavoring

- Scarlet runner beans - wonderfully creamy and rich

- Black Valentine bean - my favorite RG black bean - but do they still produce it?

 

MY RG MISSES:

 

- Pinto - bog standard - maybe I'm just bored by pintos

- Garbanzo - substandard, couldn't get them creamy - Whole Foods chickpeas beat 'em

- Negro de arbol - see above, chewy and not much flavor even after lots of cooking

- Florida butter bean - unfortunately this does not convert me to Lima beans, and I tried

- Midnight black bean - just an okay black bean - it's fine, but needs lots of seasoning

 

OTHER RG THOUGHTS:

 

- The Rancho Gordo-Xoxoc Project, as much as I support it, has not yet delivered me an interesting bean. I've tried Negro de arbor, Ayocote Negro and at least one other. Anyone else?

- Eye of the Goat, which is an RG signature bean, I can't remember much about - anyone else?

- Borlottis - this didn't make much of an impression on me, could have been my preparation

 

It could be that my "misses" above were off batches (I presume this happens with heirloom beans as with everything else) or just too old, though I usually order directly from RG and use within a year. I've also used all of those more than once.

 

Curious what others' experience is - I'll reiterate that I love RG and they've introduced me to many beans I'd never have encountered before!

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I thought their ojo de cabra ("eye of the goat") beans were fabulous. They were in the beans and greens dish I made a couple of nights ago: rich, meaty flavor that made adding bacon superfluous.

I'm pretty biased so take my opinion with a grain of salt.


Edited by SobaAddict70 (log)

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I've never had a bad bean from RG.  However, my experience is very limited because the beans I had before came from a regular old grocery store.  I love the Ayocote Negro.  I use them in all recipes that call for black beans.  They are creamy with a lot of flavor.  I also love the Christmas Lima.  I have an unopened bag of their classic cassoulet beans....I need to get cracking on that.  I really want to taste them.

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My favorite of the RG beans does not seem to be currently available.   Snowcap - a large "meaty" bean that has  always turned out perfect for me as a "stand alone" bean dish.

Another favorite is the Yellow Indian Woman bean.

  I've never had a problem with the Negro de Arbol beans not developing a creamy texture. 

 

I prepare and consume a lot of beans and I buy from other vendors when RG does not have the varieties I want.

 

Since 2009 (keep all my receipts) I have purchased from RG

Snowcap         multiple times   Have purchased more of these than any other. 

Borlotti beans    multiple times

Ayocote Negro

Negro de Arbol   multiple times

Vaquero

Rebosero   multiple times

Moro          multiple times

Midnight Black

Yellow Eye

Good Mother Stallard   multiple times

Tepary (white)   multiple times

Flageolet       multiple times

Lila Beans

Cranberry bean - Cargamanto     multiple times

Negro Criollo de Hidalgo         - a superior black bean  IMHO   rarely available

Ojo de Cabra  (Goat's Eye)   multiple times

Christmas Lima

Sangre de Toro

Yellow Indian Woman    multiple times

 

The Cranberry beans are my choice for baked beans. 

 

I should add that I also buy a significant amount of beans from Purcell Mountain Farms

 

I am a loyal RG customers but when I want or need a particular variety, I go where the supply is available.


Edited by andiesenji (log)
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A friend of mine owns a very large ranch, and last year he discovered a cave on the property.  Inside were a variety of old Indian pots, one of which contained beans.  He turned the pots over to the university but kept 10 beans, which he planted this year.  4 of them grew and he sent me this pic just yesterday.

10616374_10205258740134437_2388226005229

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A friend of mine owns a very large ranch, and last year he discovered a cave on the property.  Inside were a variety of old Indian pots, one of which contained beans.  He turned the pots over to the university but kept 10 beans, which he planted this year.  4 of them grew and he sent me this pic just yesterday.

10616374_10205258740134437_2388226005229

This. Is. Awesome.

 

Will he be able to find out what kind they are?  They are so pretty!

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I don't know.  He may already know, but I'm in the middle of too many things, and he's in the middle of harvesting and prepping for the fair, so we haven't really had time to talk.  I'll see if I can't message him.

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There are a few bean varieties other than the Anazazi, which have been found in cliff dwellings and other southwest settlements - beginning in the latter part of the 19th century and into the 20th century.

Rio Zappe is one that was "reclaimed" and has become a cash crop.  It can vary in color - depending on the type of soil in which it is grown, from a reddish color to an amethyst or a darker purple but always with the flecks and stripes that are deep purple - look black.

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I don't know.  He may already know, but I'm in the middle of too many things, and he's in the middle of harvesting and prepping for the fair, so we haven't really had time to talk.  I'll see if I can't message him.

Perhaps they are magic beans?

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Andie - I've gotten yellow eye beans from Purcell Mountain Farms and had a good experience. They're the bean I use for baked beans, by the way.

 

Thanks for your comments on the rest. Interesting that you've had so much better luck with the Negro de Arbol - this is my second bag and the same problem. I always pre-salt my beans - perhaps this bean is less forgiving of that than others? Or maybe I've just had bad luck. Anyway, this batch cooked for more than 3 hours and never got perfect texturally. 

 

I'll keep an eye out for Snowcap. Are they ever available from anyone else? Edit: I see they're available from Purcell Mountain. I'm going to give them a try.


Edited by patrickamory (log)

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I did ask and he definitely did not know the variety.

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Andie - I've gotten yellow eye beans from Purcell Mountain Farms and had a good experience. They're the bean I use for baked beans, by the way.

 

Thanks for your comments on the rest. Interesting that you've had so much better luck with the Negro de Arbol - this is my second bag and the same problem. I always pre-salt my beans - perhaps this bean is less forgiving of that than others? Or maybe I've just had bad luck. Anyway, this batch cooked for more than 3 hours and never got perfect texturally. 

 

I'll keep an eye out for Snowcap. Are they ever available from anyone else? Edit: I see they're available from Purcell Mountain. I'm going to give them a try.

I do the overnight soak in HEAVILY salted water with these and most other beans.  Most "Navy" beans don't need this process but most of the heirloom varieties do.  Last week I cooked some French Navy beans (from Purcell farms) and as I had forgotten to put them to soak, I did the "flash-soak" miccrowave  technique  (beans in a Pyrex measure, cover with water  plus about another couple of inches & a teaspoon of salt, cover and microwave on high for 15 minutes till water is boiling.

Allow to set for another 15 minutes, drain, rinse and cook as usual.   Very large beans, lima, butter beans, etc., require a bit more water and a bit more time soaking after the microwave.

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This subject is very timely.   Just got this from UPS, granted, some are not beans.....

 

 

 

photo.JPG

 

 

 

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I need to order some but have a large supply of rattlesnake beans I have to use up.

Odd that I left them off my list above.  But then I left off some others too - Pigeon "peas" which are just a small bean - I use them in salads where I want a really mild flavor.

I checked the bean shelf in the pantry and have some Orca beans, some Marrow beans, a jar of green rice beans and a small handful of Scarlet Emperor beans.  The latter way at the back of the shelf so they may be old. 

I put an order in for some Trout beans a while back but they were out of stock at the time.  I note that they are back in stock at Purcell so perhaps I should re order.  They are an interesting bean which I cook until mushy and most of the liquid is gone, mash and puree and make a bean with roasted garlic dip.

They have a totally different flavor from most beans.

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Shelby, those beans are lovely, whatever they are.

 

The beans that I have liked best from RG are the Good Mothers, Yellow Indian Woman, Black Valentines and recently I tried the San Francisciano or whatever they are called, which were very good. Where have the Black Valentines gone? Missing for a while, so sad. Sometimes I can find my faves at various outlets in the Bay Area, so I don't pay shipping, but rather pay about fifty cents more per bag.

 

From Purcell Mountain I order the organic dark red kidney beans and my all time fave, the rattlesnakes. Purcell's red kidneys make the best red beans 'n' rice ever. I would guess the black valentines would make a very good southern style bean pot, since they are more like a kidney bean than a turtle. Purcell does carry black valentines, but I have never ordered them. The Rattlers I use as I would in any pot of beans that you might consider using a pinto; they are the pinto bean of my dreams: more flavor, creamy, rich pot liquor, and they keep their shape. Perhaps for refritos a bean that melts the way pintos do is a good idea. Rattlers may be a distant cousin of the pinto, but for my money, they are in a class by themselves. And I lived in NM so I've eaten a lot of pintos.

 

The beans from both RG and Purcell are very fresh. I find that overnight soaking isn't necessary. If I start the soak by 9am they are ready to cook by 2 or 3 pm. Most of the beans above seem done to my taste after simmering for 2 to 2.5 hours at the most. I suppose that depends on type, size and freshness but I've never been very scientific about it--I just taste them.

 

I've never salted my beans in the soak. Typically I cook my beans until I think they need another 15 or 20 minutes, then salt, and cook a bit more. I like to add a little gray salt at the table. 

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