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Friday, July 29, 2011


Beans, Beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat the more you.....Oh, hello today we learn about beans. We can't talk about cooking and eating beans without discussing their one negative side effect. Our bodies lack the enzymes needed to digest some of the natural sugars contained in beans. When food can't be digested, it is left to ferment in the digestive track, creating gas. While intestinal gas is a natural part of life, the amount that can be caused by beans can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Here are some ways to significantly decrease that gas:
1) Use enzyme tablets, such as Beano, that help your body digest beans. For a free sample call the company's hotline at 1-800-257-8650.
2) Before cooking beans, soak them for at least three hours. Change the soaking water at least twice.
3) Start eating beans more frequently. The more you eat beans, the more you body will become accustomed to them.

Types of Beans
White Beans (Navy Beans)
"Navy" has nothing to do with the bean's color but rather refers to its use in a soup served in the Navy. The beans are small and are commonly used in soups, baked beans, chili, and ethnic dishes. Their flavor is light and almost buttery.
Pinto Beans
The pinto bean is actually a milder-tasting variety of the kidney bean, which was first cultivated by natives of South and Central America. The pinto bean is most commonly used in Mexican dishes such as refried beans, ranch-style beans, refritos charro, burritos, and tostadas.
Black Beans
Black beans are also known as turtle beans. These beans, which have a stronger flavor than pinto beans and white beans, are commonly paired with rice as a side dish and used in Oriental, Mediterranean, and Southern United States cooking.

Soaking Beans
Dried beans should be soaked before cooking to restore moisture, reduce cooking time, and, most importantly, to cut down on the gas the can produce inside of you. Choose a pot that will be large enough to give the beans room to expand as they soak.( Most beans when hydrated, will triple in size.) There are two ways to soak beans- the quick method and the overnight method.
Quick Soaking
For each pound (2 cups)  of dried beans, add 10 cups of hot water; heat to boiling and let boil 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside for at least 1 hour.
Overnight Soak
For each pound (2 cups) of dried beans, add 10 cups cold water, then soak overnight.

Once your beans have soaked and tripled in size, it's time to cook them. Be sure to drain off the soaking water and rinse the beans, as the soaking water now contains some of the bean sugars that can cause gas. Depending on the variety, beans take 30 minutes to 2 hours to cook; check the package for more specific directions. Beans are done when they are tender but not falling apart. If the beans have been sitting in your food storage for a long time, you will need to cook them longer.

Looking for a low fat alternative for your favorite dessert? Try substituting mashed, cooked beans for butter, margarine, or oil. Soak, cook and drain beans as instructed previously, reserving the cooking water. Substitute beans for oil, margarine, or butter in baked goods, using the same amount of cooked beans as the type of fat called for. For recipes where butter or margarine is creamed with sugar, simply place whole,cooked beans with sugar and cream together. The batter may be moister than usual, so if you are also using powdered eggs, DO NOT add the water, since the liquid in the beans will rehydrate the eggs. For recipes calling for oil, make a bean puree by placing cooked beans in a blender, then adding just enough water to blend the beans into a smooth, thick paste with no chunks. Match the bean color with the treat you are making, so that the color of the treat doesn't change. For example, black beans would not work in a yellow cake you would use white beans. Store cooked beans tightly covered in the refrigerator up to five days, or in the freezer for up to six months.
                                   Brownies made with powdered egg and white bean puree.

Of the beans offered at the Church canneries, dehydrated refried beans are the easiest and quickest to cook. If you're unsure about using dehydrated refried beans, know this: they are the best kept secret of most fast food Mexican restaurants. If restaurants can use dehydrated refried beans in their expensive food, why not use it in your own cooking and save money while you're at it?
Refried Beans
1 cup boiling water
1 cups dehydrated refried beans     Add dehydrated refried beans to boiling water and stir. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Adjust the water to get the consistency your family likes.

Recipes to try:
White Bean and Sausage Rigatoni
8 oz. dried macaroni
2 cups cooked white beans
1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes
2 tsp Italian seasoning
6 oz. cooked Italian sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/3 cup fresh basil, snipped
1 oz. Asiago or Parmesan cheese, finely shredded

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, Return pasta to hot saucepan; cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan combine beans, undrained tomatoes, and sausage; heat through. Add pasta and basil; toss gently to combine. Sprinkle individual servings with cheese.

Pinto Bean Fudge
1 cup cooked pinto beans, drained and mashed into thick paste
1/4 cup evaporated milk (1 1/2 T. dry powdered milk + 1/4 cup water)
1T vanilla
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate
6T butter or margarine
2lbs. powdered sugar
pecans or walnuts (optional)
In large bowl, stir beans and milk together adding milk until the mixture resembles mashed potatoes; stir in vanilla. Melt chocolate and butter or margarine and stir into bean mixture. Gradually stir in powdered sugar. Knead with hands until well blended. Spread into lightly greased 9-inch baking dish or form into two 1 1/2-inch  rolls. Chill 1-2 hours before serving.