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Pulses: dried beans, peas, lentils - love 'em? hate 'em?


Anna N
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19 minutes ago, kayb said:

 

I guess it's just me, but I've never found purple hulls to be mealy. I freeze LOTS of purple hulls when they're in season to eat all winter; I love 'em topped with a spoonful of ripe tomato relish and a big wedge of hot cornbread with butter. Don't much care if I eat anything else.

 

But if I had to name one bean I'd take with me to that proverbial desert island, it'd be the navy bean, which I would soak and then braise with a ham hock or some other permutation of smoked pork. I could come real close to living on that. With cornbread.

 

 

Kay,

 

I could just about live on beans and cornbread too, and that memory of the fresh picked purple hulls is very old and very cherished. I was so disappointed. I screwed up every single dish in the dinner that night, and most of it was my fault. I haven't thrown out the other half of the package and will report back when I cook it.

 

Whenever I hear this song, I always thinks that modern day prisoners would be glad to be fed well-prepared cornbread and beans. I know I would anytime. :D

 

I recently bought and cooked some Pict Sweet speckled butter beans, and they were just about perfect. It was probably the evil cold I'm still trying to shake/kitchen spirits when I tried to cook the purple hulls. I will try again. I will also go back for some Pict Sweet fresh frozen crowders and more butter beans.

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I like just about any kind of bean.  If it doesn't have enough flavor on it's own, there are plenty of things to season it with.  When the weather is cool and I have the time, I'll cook a pot of dry beans and freeze the leftovers.  If I have no leftovers, a can of beans is quick and handy.  I rarely have meat at home so beans are a good alternative source of protein.  Beans are an amazing food and a staple for me.  Love 'em!

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I really love beans of all kinds and have always felt good about taking the extra time to used dried beans.  So how surprised was I to learn from Cooks Illustrated (my go-to source) that it is actually far better to used the canned ones now because those that are dried are quite often old and dried out.

And the canned beans are subject to much greater quality control than the dried variety.

So, I will try to use up my stockpile of dried beans but will convert to canned.

(CI did say the one exception was the heirloom beans, ((such as Rancho Gordo.))

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Rancho Gordos are outstanding!  

 

There are other good beans too, tho:  Baer's Beans (It's easiest to get these if you live in Maine); Elegant Beans (fully set up for online ordering); and Purcell Mountain Farms (same).  

 

I also find the regular ole' mass-produced beans to be plenty fresh if you get them from grocers in neighborhoods where people eat a lot of beans. Mass-produced beans aren't going to taste as good as heirloom beans, but I just season them differently.  The CI recommendation for canned  . . . well, other than chickpeas, I can't really get behind that.  I mean, I guess they're alright in a pinch (well, not the Green Giant ones.  Those are terrible!).  Admittedly, it's been several years since I used canned beans; but backalong they were definitely not notably superior to a dried mass-produced bean.  

 

Meanwhile, lindag -- there's a gigantic, wonderful bean thread of many years' wisdom:  https://forums.egullet.org/topic/36312-cooking-dried-beans/?page=12

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On 9/22/2016 at 0:43 AM, Thanks for the Crepes said:

 

Kay,

 

I could just about live on beans and cornbread too, and that memory of the fresh picked purple hulls is very old and very cherished. I was so disappointed. I screwed up every single dish in the dinner that night, and most of it was my fault. I haven't thrown out the other half of the package and will report back when I cook it.

 

Whenever I hear this song, I always thinks that modern day prisoners would be glad to be fed well-prepared cornbread and beans. I know I would anytime. :D

 

I recently bought and cooked some Pict Sweet speckled butter beans, and they were just about perfect. It was probably the evil cold I'm still trying to shake/kitchen spirits when I tried to cook the purple hulls. I will try again. I will also go back for some Pict Sweet fresh frozen crowders and more butter beans.

 

Oh, my...you had me nodding my head to Bill Monroe. Grew up on bluegrass.

 

Actually, some of the best beans and cornbread I ever had was at the Crittenden County Jail (home of the infamous jail slaw!) when I was a young reporter covering cops and courts. It was cheap, easy, and there was generally a trusty in the house who had some acquaintance with cooking.

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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On 22/09/2016 at 11:11 AM, lindag said:

I really love beans of all kinds and have always felt good about taking the extra time to used dried beans.  So how surprised was I to learn from Cooks Illustrated (my go-to source) that it is actually far better to used the canned ones now because those that are dried are quite often old and dried out.

And the canned beans are subject to much greater quality control than the dried variety.

So, I will try to use up my stockpile of dried beans but will convert to canned.

(CI did say the one exception was the heirloom beans, ((such as Rancho Gordo.))

 

I like that CI explains the thought process behind their recommendations, because often it tells me where we parted company. :)

 

I think if you live in an area where beans are not widely used perhaps you might get old and stale ones at the supermarket, but it's a long stretch to go from there to a blanket condemnation of dried beans in general. I've bought 'em in 6 of Canada's 10 provinces, and only occasionally found myself with a batch of elderly and "cookproof" beans...usually when I was desperate and picked them up at a convenience store, or something like that. 

 

(Disclosure: Freshness is a complete non-issue for me now, because my parents grow and dry their own and share 'em with me.)

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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18 hours ago, chromedome said:

I think if you live in an area where beans are not widely used perhaps you might get old and stale ones at the supermarket, but it's a long stretch to go from there to a blanket condemnation of dried beans in general. I've bought 'em in 6 of Canada's 10 provinces, and only occasionally found myself with a batch of elderly and "cookproof" beans...usually when I was desperate and picked them up at a convenience store, or something like that. 

 

That's been my experience with dried beans too. We have a thriving Latin American community here and they strongly influence what is available at mainstream grocers and even dollar stores around here. Almost all packages of dried beans are now marked with an expiration date and many of them are marked with year of production. I like the La Rosa brand of dried beans I can get at the Dollar General. They brag about being "this year's crop". 

 

I did have a pack of field peas that were terrible years ago, but they are not a real popular bean, although they can be very good if fresh and prepared properly. They probably sat around too long before I bought and tried to cook them. I also encountered some dried red kidney beans I cooked in chilli con carne for three days in a crockpot without softening, but that was over thirty years ago, and probably my fault. I added the acidic homegrown tomatoes before the beans were softened. Do not add acid or sugar to beans before they are getting soft, y'all.

 

All that said, I like canned beans too, and I can get fresh frozen ones that are very good too. If you want the very best bean experience, you must pick, shell, cook and serve them on the same day. It's a tall order, and I haven't had the pleasure in decades.

 

Ranch Gordo's beans, while I deeply respect what he's trying to do, are just priced outside my budget.

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