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fifi

Cooking Dried Beans

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I am really flattered and thank you for all the nice comments on the website. I hope you can visit me at a market in the bay area soon!


Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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OK, but then it relates back to just two things, I think: the type of bean, and the age of the bean. Is that right? With experience, we can handle the first. As for the second, we are at the mercy of processors and packagers.

Weathering the curious glances of fellow shoppers, I spent some time (an amount, I suspect, that only an eGull would find reasonable) examining bean packages. Most of them did have expiration dates -- including quite a few outdated specimens at Whole Foods -- though they're not easy to find.

The smallest (read: boutique) packagers had no dates. The imported brands had straightforward, "Best if used by - - - " nomenclature. The largest brands, meaning Goya and the store labels, used a simple code that employed the day of the year (1 through 365); then a character or two that might be the plant where they were packed, or might be a letter designation for a year; and finally, what was apparently the expiration year. (I have a real example, but I left it at home.) Actually, it's very similar to the code used on fresh eggs.

It would be nice if we could simply buy the beans with the most distant expiry, but that depends on the policy of the packer. Beans that expire in January '05 sound good, unless the packer thinks that 18 months is a reasonable shelf life -- they would have been packed in June or July of '03. In that case, a bag of December 04's from a more perspicacious 12-month packer might be more pleasing.


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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I really believe that the two step (soak then simmer) method for garbanzos and cannelini provides the best chance of obtaining a beauitful succulent result no matter what the date on the package. Also, what about the water?


“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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and what about soaking chick peas with baking soda? has this been discredited?

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for a while, i was afraid that my tombstone would read "did not soak beans". here's what i believe about beans:

1) you do not NEED to soak them. soaking does speed up the cooking process and, i think, result in slightly more uniform cooking among the beans. not soaking, of course, means you don't need to plan the night before about what you're going to fix for dinner. also, and maybe more important, not soaking the beans results in a very, very flavorful broth. this is much more like mexican-style beans than, perhaps, french.

2) salt them right away. try them unsalted and salted side-by-side and you won't believe the difference. salted beans are seasoned all the way through. salting at the end you just get a very salty broth and bland beans.

3) acid is somewhat problematic. it does delay cooking. add tomatoes, etc., only after the beans have begun to soften.

4) alkaline substances are VERY problematic. they'll stop cooking cold. this is why boston baked beans you add the molasses at the very end. it's also why in certain cities at certain times of year, beans will never soften (alkaline salts in the water).

5) i do believe that beans need to be started slowly and cooked slowly. the starches soften and dissolve in order rather than all at once. cook them too quickly and you'll find that more beans break up.

6) there is almost nothing you can do about the "digestive unpleasantness" issue. certainly, soaking has absolutely no effect. i talked to a scientist who had measured the sugars left in beans after soaking. cold soaking removed only a very negligible amount (the sugars are the stored energy the beans will need in their role as seeds--growing new plants; soaking is the first stage of germination, it would make no sense to purge sugars at that point). hot soaking removed about 10-15%, if i remember correctly. and, he said, if you repeated the hot soaking three times, you actually reached a decent level. of course, beans that were hot-soaked three times in a row lacked something gustatorily. beano, the product, is an enzyme that dissolves the specific sugars that beans contain. it does work. on the other hand, part of the musical nature of beans is that they are very high in fiber, which the american diet is very low in. beano does nothing for this. the only thing that works is eating beans frequently; your system will adjust. note that in mexico and central america, where beans have always been eaten in abundance, 1) they never soak beans and 2) rarely experience digestive distress.

cook more beans.

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russ,

i wonder if your experiments have included cooking beans in a pressure-cooker. this is the way most indian homes cook red-beans (rajma) and (despite what i posted about my recent gaseous production) rajma-chawal (indian style red beans and rice) doesn't cause me much distress. then again i probably eat more red beans than the average american. or perhaps all that chilli powder and garam masala does something too.

mongo

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1) you do not NEED to soak them. soaking does speed up the cooking process and, i think, result in slightly more uniform cooking among the beans. not soaking, of course, means you don't need to plan the night before about what you're going to fix for dinner. also, and maybe more important, not soaking the beans results in a very, very flavorful broth. this is much more like mexican-style beans than, perhaps, french.

2

I think beans from the "old world" such as fava beans and garbanzo beans really need soaking, otherwise, theyu need cooking all day long. You don't need to change their soaking water unless you've added baking soda.


“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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Hmm. By the "hot soak" method, are you referring to bringing them to a boil for a couple minutes, setting them aside for a couple hours, then draining them and cooking as usual? Because that seems to work for me in cutting down the digestive distress factor.

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paula is right (of course), that i should have specified new world beans rather than implying the same was true for chickpeas and dried favas. i don't have enough experience cooking with them to make any judgement on those, certainly not compared to her.

i should also have pointed out that you do need to adjust the amount of water in the recipe when you don't soak. the beans take up a lot more water during the cooking.

i have not done any work comparing beans cooked in the pressure cooker. offhand, i can't think of a reason why it would make a difference, but it is possible that the increased heat could have an effect on the sugars.

Because i'm sure the statute of limitations has run out, here is the piece i wrote in 1994:

Almost every recipe in every cookbook you've ever read says you must soak dried beans before you cook them. In almost every case that advice is wrong.

Letting dried beans sit overnight in a bowl of cold water does nothing to improve their flavor or their texture. In fact, it does quite the opposite. While soaking shortens the unattended cooking time of beans somewhat, the time saved is marginal and there are no other labor-saving benefits. Finally, soaking does absolutely nothing to reduce the gas-producing properties of beans.

These may be difficult ideas to get used to, flying as they do in the face of everything most of us have been taught about cooking beans. One friend, an Arizonan, dismissed the idea out-of-hand, attributing it to my New Mexican background. "What do they know about beans?" she said.

But cooking unsoaked beans is not new. No less an authority than noted Mexican cookbook writer Diana Kennedy has advocated it for years. "If you want the best-flavored beans, don't soak them overnight, but start cooking in hot water," she says in "The Cuisines of Mexico" (Harper & Row: 1972).

In fact, the more I asked around, the more people I found who cooked beans this way--mostly, it seemed, people from Mexican or Central American families--although at least one prominent New American chef and another well-known French chef agreed.

What's more, few commercial canners soak dried beans before cooking. In fact, in a way they don't cook the beans at all. The heat and pressure of the canning process (called the retort) is enough to cook--perhaps even overcook--the beans right in the can.

*

Still, I wanted to see for myself. Call it trial by frijoles.

First, I cooked three pots of beans: one soaked overnight, one quick-soaked (brought to a boil and left to sit, covered for one hour), and one simply covered with boiling water. To each pot I added a hunk of salt pork, some sliced onion and a bit of garlic. I simmered them slowly on top of the stove, covered.

The two soaked beans did cook more quickly than the unsoaked--they were finished in about 1 hour and 15 minutes, as opposed to two hours. But when I sampled them, the extra 45 minutes paid off. The two pots of soaked beans were pallid compared to the unsoaked (though the long-soaked were better than the quick-soaked). The unsoaked beans had a noticeably deeper flavor; they were firmer to the bite, and they did not break up as much in cooking.

Then came the ultimate test. I sat down with a big bowl of the cooked unsoaked beans (after a little refrying with bacon and a handful of grated Monterey Jack cheese) and ate lunch. I waited, half expecting to blow up like a balloon (as a precaution, I did this test at home, alone). Nothing untoward happened.

That experiment was far from scientific, but after talking to a couple of researchers who confirmed my results, I moved on to more phone calls and other tests.

*

All of us, it seems, have our own set of folk tales about cooking beans. And most rules are followed simply because that's the way someone told us to do it, rather than as a result of any kind of testing.

* Some people told me quite firmly that beans should never be salted before cooking--that this keeps them from softening during cooking. In fact, Kennedy herself makes this claim.

So I cooked beans with salt added (1 teaspoon per pound of beans turns out to be about the right ratio) and without. They cooked to exactly the same degree of softness in almost exactly the same time.

Interestingly, though, to get the same level of saltiness in the unsalted batch of beans, I had to add more than twice as much salt. And even then, it was more a case of the broth being salty than the beans.

* Other people said that the type of pot in which beans are cooked is the most important thing--only earthenware will do.

I cooked beans in three different pots--earthenware, stainless-steel and unlined aluminum. There was some difference in the rate at which the beans soaked up water (or, probably more accurately, the pans soaked up water). The earthenware needed more water early but then seemed to maintain a steady level a little better. I could find little difference in flavor between the earthenware and the stainless-steel, but the unlined aluminum lent a distinctly metallic flavor to the beans.

* One chef told me he never allowed his beans to be cooked on top of the stove. Only by cooking them in the oven is it possible to get the slow, steady pace they need, he claimed.

*

I cooked beans both on top of the stove and in the oven. With constant attention and a ready flame-tamer, I could manipulate the temperature well enough to keep the beans at a sufficiently slow simmer. But, covered, in a 250-degree oven, the cooking was almost effortless. All I had to do was check every half-hour or so to make sure there was sufficient water.

The effect of the cover was particularly amazing. Cooking beans in one test without a cover took six hours. The same quantity of beans, cooked at the same temperature with a lid, was done in about 1 hour, 15 minutes ( without pre-soaking).

All of these tests were done with commonly available varieties--pinto and white northern--that had been purchased from stores that seem to sell a lot of beans. In fact, the age of the bean may be the most important factor.

Dried beans continue to lose moisture as they sit. With very recently picked beans--say, the Scarlet Runners I pick and shell in the summer in my back yard--a quick simmer is all that is necessary. (Actually they are quite good even raw when doused with a little olive oil, mint or basil and salt).

On the other hand, those dried flageolet beans you bought on a whim a couple of years ago that have been sitting in the back of the pantry ever since may be quite dry. In fact, with these beans, soaking may be necessary to bring the cooking time down to a matter of hours, rather than days.

*

Finally, it was time to put the beans to the final test--cooking them in recipes. What good is science, after all, if it is not in the service of mankind? So test we did, adapting old favorite bean recipes to this "new" way of cooking. The results were gratifying: In every case, the dishes were done in almost the same amount of time as the originals. And the textures and flavors of the beans were much improved.

Progress is great when it tastes so good.

AND THIS IS A SIDEBAR ON THE CHEMISTRY:

There is no getting around it--beans cause flatulence. The degree to which different beans affect different people varies, but the truth is inescapable. And there seems to be little a cook can do about it.

"Whether to soak beans prior to cooking or not is simply a culinary question," says Gregory Gray, who has been studying beans for 10 years at the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Western Regional Research lab in Albany, Calif. "It may shorten the cooking time, but other than that, there's no effect (on flatulence)."

Louis B. Rockland, who has been studying beans even longer--first at Albany and now with his own research firm, Food Tech Research in Placentia, concurs. "There are lots of old wives' tales (about reducing flatulence)--people use bicarbonate of soda, ginger, sulfur, castor oil--a whole series of them. But there's no evidence that any of them--including soaking--work effectively."

The problem with beans is well documented. At its root are two factors. First, beans are high in fiber, which most Americans don't eat much of and which can cause flatulence. Second, beans contain complex sugars called alpha-galactosides. The human body does not produce enzymes to digest these sugars. Mainly raffinose and stachyose, they pass through the stomach undigested until they reach the large intestine. There they ferment, producing gases--hydrogen, carbon dioxide and--in some people--methane. The rest is faux pas.

*

It was thought that soaking beans in cold water leached these sugars out of the bean. Throw away the water and you throw away the gas--it has a simple appeal. Unfortunately, it isn't true. These sugars are part of what the bean uses for nourishment as it grows into a plant, and the bean does not part with them gladly.

"When you soak beans in cold water, the beans are actually still alive and their cell walls are still functional," explains Gray. "Those walls are designed to be a very good barrier--to take water in, but not to let the seed nutrients out."

Gray and his colleagues developed a method for extracting most of the alpha-galactosides from beans. The beans are boiled for three minutes (effectively killing the bean and allowing the sugars to pass through the cell walls), then allowed to stand for two hours. That water is poured off and the beans are covered and soaked for another two hours. Then they're drained, covered and soaked another two hours before being drained and rinsed a final time.

*

This method succeeded in ridding the beans of 90% of the troublesome sugars, but as you might expect, there was a side effect. "I used to do this blanch-soak method all the time at home and it works very nicely," Gray says. "The one thing people who ate dinner with us have noted is that you do lose some flavor."

What's more--without going into details of what they measured and how--suffice it to say that even with almost all of the alpha-galactosides gone, there wasn't a consistent marked decrease in human flatulence.

"We reduced the alpha-galactoside content by 90% but we haven't done anything to dietary fiber," says Gray, "and dietary fiber produces similar effects."

This casts doubt not only on this particular pre-soaking method but also on the effectiveness of enzyme additions, such as Beano, which supposedly supply the chemicals necessary to break down the problem sugars.

*

In fact, it seems, the surest cure for flatulence caused by beans is eating more beans.

"Apparently, if you eat beans regularly, the microflora (which ferment the sugars causing gas) adjust somewhat," says Gray. "If you eat bean-and-cheese burritos every day, unless you have some kind of specific problem, you probably won't notice it at all. In cultures that routinely eat beans, you don't hear a lot of complaining about flatulence."

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I always thought that the prohibition against salting beans had to do with toughening the skin of the beans rather than the actual flesh. Anyone else heard this, or am I making it up?


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Russ, I'm wiping away the tears of joy from my eyes. Thank you so much! So much great information and so many of my hunches confirmed. And new questions posed!

I also think Paula must be right about the old world beans. But I've always maintained that you need to soak Runner Cannellini (probably new world but hard to pinpoint) and Scarlet Runners (traceable to Oaxaca Mexico, 7050 BC). I can't wait to try these again. I admit to being sloppy about lid placement.

I've also heard that hard water can have an effect on beans.

Again, I can't tell you how much this thread has meant to me!


Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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I always thought that the prohibition against salting beans had to do with toughening the skin of the beans rather than the actual flesh. Anyone else heard this, or am I making it up?

Yep, I've heard that. Same for acid.

I've also heard that it toughens the beans themselves.

Can't trust anybody anymore.


amanda

Googlista

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Anyone know why the old-world beans benefit from soaking?

The new world beans mentioned here so far are all Phaseolus vulgaris. But I am wondering about Limas (P. lunatus). I bought some "italian butter beans" at the SF farmer's market a couuple weeks ago. I asked the guy what they were, and he said "italian butter beans," which was not particularly helpful, but which I took to mean that they were a variety of P. lunatus (even though they looked like giant cannelini).

His wife (or coworker) told me to soak them. After reading Russ's article on the subject, I just ignore this advice, but now I wonder if "butter beans," like the old world beans (which are different genera) respond differently to soaking.

I cooked them without soaking and they were fine, but the way.

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I see no difference in the texture of the bean skin from salting. I gave up the no-salt routine many years ago. I go back to my original post about adding salty pork products anyway.

I am not sure about the Old World beans. I have cooked dried garbanzos (Goya brand) in my crockpot just like I do every other bean and they were great.

You do have to be careful about limas though. Some of the older varieties and fresh green ones contain enough precursors for cyanide to be a problem and should be cooked uncovered. Cases of poisoning are rare now because most varieties have been bred to reduce those precursors but if you are messing with heirlooms you might keep this in mind.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Other than chickpeas and cannelinis (sp?), what constituties "old world" beans?


"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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i'm not sure that cannellini beans are actually old world. i think it's just chickpeas and favas. as far as i know, everything else is post-columbian. and if you children are good, someday uncle russ will tell you a story about fava beans and the evolutionary imperative!

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Ah... Favism.

Tell us a story Uncle Russ. Please. Please. Please. With sugar on it? :biggrin:


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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well, this thread is turning into a one-man assault on the copyright laws. but i think technically i have the right to reprint my own stories ... nobody's a tribune corp lawyer, right?

anyway, how can i resist a texan named fifi: "bonjour, y'all!" (this is from '96)

Avoid fava beans.

--Pythagoras

*

What would a Greek philosopher in the 6th century BC have against one of the most common vegetables of his area and time? This has been the subject of debate almost from the moment Pythagoras completed the sentence. An incredible assortment of explanations has been offered, ranging from reincarnation to sexual symbolism.

Only relatively recently have scientists begun to think that Pythagoras may have been on to something. For some people, we now know, fresh fava beans can be poisonous. This fairly common genetically transmitted condition--called, appropriately, favism--was recognized only at the turn of this century and has been explained fully just in the last decade.

The condition is especially prevalent in the old Magna Graecia--the region ruled by the ancient Greeks--where as much as 30% of the population in some areas has it.

Whether the poisonings were the basis of Pythagoras' pronouncement or not, no one can say for certain. While today's cults seem determined to tell all about their religious beliefs, the Pythagoreans were notoriously close-mouthed.

Iamblichus tells of the time a group of Pythagoreans were being pursued by their enemies when they came across a field of favas in bloom. Rather than disobey the master's dictates and flee through the field, they were slaughtered. And when two who were captured were questioned about their beliefs, they refused to answer. The husband chose death and the wife, a Spartan, bit off her tongue and spit it at her captors to avoid spilling the beans.

As Mirko Grmek so pithily puts it in her book, "Diseases in the Greek World" (Johns Hopkins, 1991), "The Pythagorean rule of silence explains why the persons in antiquity who dared write on this subject were already in the dark." Of course, that didn't stop them from writing.

The state of the debate was pretty well summed up by Aristotle, who says that Pythagoras proscribed fava beans "either because they have the shape of testicles, or because they resemble the gates of hell, for they alone have no hinges, or again because they spoil, or because they resemble the nature of the universe, or because of oligarchy, for they are used for drawing lots."

And if you can't find something there you like, there's more. Diogenes proposed that the Pythagoreans rejected favas because they cause thought-disturbing flatulence, saying, "One should abstain from fava beans, since they are full of wind and take part in the soul, and if one abstains from them one's stomach will be less noisy and one's dreams will be less oppressive and calmer."

Despite this injunction, it should be noted that fava beans are lower in indigestible sugars--and in fiber--than many other beans. It's just that until the discovery of the Americas, they were the sole representative of beandom in Europe.

The later sect known as the Orphics believed that Pythagoras had forbidden the eating of favas because they contain the souls of the dead. "Eating fava beans and gnawing on the heads of one's parents are one and the same," went one of their sayings.

Since the Renaissance, scholars have proposed even more solutions. "Humanistic scholarship, with free association as its main guide, has offered explanations that range from the mildly ridiculous to the extremely ridiculous," wrote Robert Brumbaugh and Jessica Schwartz in a 1980 issue of the journal Classical World.

Be that as it may, the modern explanation is even more interesting. Around the turn of the century, physicians began to recognize that after eating fresh fava beans, some people began to suffer a sudden illness that, in some cases, led rapidly to death. The cause seems obvious today, but remember that it wasn't until 1904 that Clemens von Pirquet came up with the medical definition for allergies. Before that, it was difficult for scientists to get a handle on the concept that what might be fine for one person might be poison for another.

When scientists began to investigate favism, they found a genetically transmitted deficiency in a certain blood enzyme--glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (called, for obvious reasons, G6PD). In about 20% of the people with this deficiency, eating fresh fava beans can trigger a severe hemolytic anemia. Sufferers exhibit symptoms of jaundice and anemia and excrete blood in their urine. Even today, death follows for almost 10% of those who suffer this reaction, usually within a matter of days.

The condition is most common in males, by a ratio of almost 3 to 1. Only women who carry the gene from both sides of the family are susceptible. And it is most severe among infants and children; the poison can be passed in mother's milk.

We now know that there are three distinct genetic strains of G6PD deficiency. One is centered in the Greek plains, Southern Italy and the islands of the Aegean. That's precisely the area controlled by the ancient Greeks. Crotona, where Pythagoras had his settlement in the modern-day state of Calabria, is one such concentration.

Another genetic type is centered in the Mediterranean coast of Africa, particularly Egypt and Morocco. The third is in Central Asia, extending into China--which is perplexing, because the fava bean has no long history there. However, one incident of favism reported in Southern California involved a young Chinese boy who had eaten yewdow--a snack food made from fried and salted fava beans.

Although the initial medical question was answered, a more interesting evolutionary issue had been raised: Why would people continue to consume fava beans in an area where a relatively high percentage of them would get sick from eating them? Logically, one would assume that either people would stop eating fava beans or--deprived of a prime foodstuff--people carrying the genetic trait would eventually die off. Yet after more than 3,000 years of fava-eating, neither has happened.

A possible explanation began to appear in the 1920s, when scientists found that G6PD deficiency is actually a defense against malaria, historically a major health problem in Greece and Southern Italy. It occurred so often that it was accepted almost as a matter of course (much as we live with the flu). As recently as 1943, 100,000 cases of malaria were reported in one year on the island of Sardinia. The G6PD deficiency, scientists found, helps defend against malaria parasites by reducing the amount of oxygen in red blood cells.

Things became even more interesting during World War II, when doctors treating malaria with quinine-based drugs noticed that many people with favism reacted to the medicine in the same way they did to eating fava beans.

On further investigation, scientists found that fava beans contain several chemical compounds that resemble those found in quinine-based drugs. After decades of research, in the last few years they have proven that fava beans themselves also fight malaria, and in much the same way as G6PD deficiency: by reducing the amount of oxygen in the blood.

Thus, it is now theorized that what keeps the scales in balance in this evolutionary standoff is that when fava beans are consumed by people with G6PD deficiency who don't suffer from favism (the vast majority, remember), the resistance to malaria is raised even further.

Therefore, even if favas are dangerous to a certain percentage of people, their benefits to the remainder of the population far outweigh their shortcomings.

Is this the secret behind Pythagoras' puzzle? It's hard to say, 26 centuries later. One thing's for certain: He's not talking.

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Other than chickpeas and cannelinis (sp?), what constituties "old world" beans?

Also lentils, lupini and peas (I know peas are not beans but you know what I mean!)


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So am I correctly deducing that "Old World beans" are those which were not cultivated in the Americas before Columbus landed?


amanda

Googlista

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I bought some "italian butter beans" at the SF farmer's market a couuple weeks ago.

Oh, badthings! You can go to the somewhat facist SF farmers market and not visit me in Oakland???? :wink:

FWIW, I checked out the little Berkeley farmers market today so I may be there soon.

Now back to beans....


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"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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You do have to be careful about limas though. Some of the older varieties and fresh green ones contain enough precursors for cyanide to be a problem and should be cooked uncovered. Cases of poisoning are rare now because most varieties have been bred to reduce those precursors but if you are messing with heirlooms you might keep this in mind.

Wow, I have never heard this. That's a little scary. Does it have to be uncovered the whole time?


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*drags out McGee yet another time*

After discussing cyanogens in fruit pits etc., McGee goes on:

Lima beans, on the other hand, are deliberately consumed, and for this reason many countries, including the United States, restrict commercially grown varieties to those with the lowest cyanogen contents. Lima beans used in Java and Burma can have 20 to 30 times the concentration allowed in Western countries. Though not entirely free of cyanogens, our lima beans are no danger to us. And residual toxin can be driven off by the simple expedient of boiling water. Hydrogen cyanide is a gas, and escapes the cooking liquid as soon as it is formed - as long as the pot is not covered.

That is why I mentioned the "heirloom" varieties. Sprouts are probably not a good idea either since they are usually consumed raw. I almost did that one time when I was into sprouting everything I could get my hands on. But it probably wouldn't have been that big a deal with the "commercial" limas in the bag on my grocery shelf.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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That is why I mentioned the "heirloom" varieties.

I have Christmas Limas, an heirloom with a distinct chestnut flavor, so I am a bit concerned.

I don't hate limas but if I never ate another, I could cope somehow. It seems fitting that they have the potential to be poison!


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