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Old 01-18-2013, 11:58 AM
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I have recently began stocking alot of various beans. I have been storing up pasta, rice, and other staples for about a year, but not many beans. I have tried to stick to the mentality of only stocking foods that we eat regularly. Well, we don't eat dried beans. I know they are a important staple for preppers so I felt it was time. So far I have lentils, black, navy, red, lima, blackeye, and red pinto beans, along with split green peas and chickpeas. Are there any varieties that store better than others? Is dessicant neccissary? I use mylar and O2 absorbers. Also, what are some of your favorite ways to cook them? I think I need to start learning now so I have it figured out before it is a critical time.
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:28 PM
Mels thinkingitover Mels thinkingitover is offline
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Beans are the prepper's friend because they are cheap, filling, versatile and a very good nutrition choice. Some of the beans provide the complete amino group to render them a complete protein. Lots of other nutrition and if you sprout them just a little bit it adds vitamin C to the mix. Introduce your family to them now however. Most tummies don't accept new foods well in crisis situations, kids even less. Introducing big food changes when everyone is already adjusting to a lot of other changes tends to be unsuccessful from a dietary and emotional standpoint. Since there are a lot of "neat" recipes out there using beans, it's not like you are going to have to plop a spoon of beans with no seasonings down in front of your family. People tend to visualize the cowboys around a campfire with a plate of beans, just beans. Yuck.

In the recipe section under the Farming, Gardening and Homesteading section there are bunches of bean recipes. I'm not busy today so I'll go over and bump some to the top of the list. I use a lot of beans in my cooking.

Since you are new to the bean world, a good cookbook might be helpful. On Amazon, if you put "bean cookbook" in the search engine you will come up with a truckload of books. I've been cooking for over 40 years and still checked out a few of the books. These are the two I've like best. They are usable, people friendly and don't have you out searching for ingredients you ccouldn't afford if you found them:

Bean By Bean: A Cookbook: More than 175 Recipes... cover
Bean By Bean: A Cookbook: More than 175 Recipes...
Amazon.com: 366 Delicious Ways to Cook Rice,... cover
Amazon.com: 366 Delicious Ways to Cook Rice,...
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:12 PM
NoTea4U NoTea4U is offline
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Pintos tend to get hard if they're stored a while. I've had good experience with all other beans I have used. When people claim dried beans stay hard through cooking... it's because they're not processing them properly. There are three vital aspects to cooking beans that have been dried: the pre-soak, cooking time, and time at which salt is introduced.

I soak my beans for about 24 hours before cooking them. This ensures they are fully hydrated, so they cook more thoroughly. Cycle fresh water 2-3 times over the soaking period. If (and only if) your beans are very old, you can add a bit of baking soda to soften the beans during the soak. It's rarely needed, but a good idea if the beans are older than the hills they grew in. With beans that are less than 5 years old, I add nothing in the soaking and get a perfect dish every time.

Beans have a protein coating which people can't digest... that's what causes the bloating and gas beans are notorious for. It takes 5 hours of slow cooking to break down that protein, so I boil my beans on low and cook that long. Add the other ingredients to your recipe AFTER the beans are as soft as you like them. You need to do this because salt stabilizes the structure of the beans... the addition of salt will prevent further softening. Add your veggies and such towards the end of the cooking time, so that all ingredients are fully cooked at the 5 hour mark.

Prior to prepping, I never worked with dried beans and rarely ate beans at all. Now that I know the secret to making beans digestible (no gas) I eat them regularly. They are an exceptional source of energy. I add mine to soups, casseroles, and all sorts of Mexican dishes. Cooked properly, they'll never give you trouble.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:20 PM
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Pintos tend to get hard if they're stored a while. I've had good experience with most others.
I have heard this before. I assume they would still be usable, just needing to be soaked longer? I hope this is the case as pinto beans are the cheapest I can find and thus have already stocked around 50 lbs.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:21 PM
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I've heard that several times about pintos. Is that a death sentence for them??? Pintos do best in my garden, so a lot of what I am storing is pintos. Would a good long soak make them cook up?? I figure even if I have some old beans that won't cook, I can always grind them and have a head start on refried beans.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:38 PM
NoTea4U NoTea4U is offline
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I have never hit a pinto that was too hard after proper processing, and I've cooked some as much as 12 years old. The issue with the hardness comes in when you are working with a bean mix, because the beans will soften at different rates. With a very old bean mixture, my pintos would be hard at 3 hours cooking while the other beans were soft. That meant I had to wait to add other ingredients for my dish. It's no issue for things like soup, stew, or casseroles, but it meant adjusting my process for cooking chili. I like all my beans soft in chili, which takes about 4 hours with ancient pintos. I find it takes 2 hours of cooking with the spices in place, before a chili really hits that amazing note. So with old pintos, I end up having to cook chili 6 hours instead of 5.

To date, that's the only issue I've had with old pintos. I have tried putting soda in the soaking water to soften them. It helped, but in the end I just changed my cooking process and was happy. I do use the soda if I'm using old pintos to make tacos, but only because I like my spices to have some extra time to meld with the beans... not because it's necessary. I don't think soda really changed the end product, it's just what I've gotten used to doing.

One small thought to add: A 5 hour cooking time means 5 hours of actual simmering. When using something like a slow cooker, it can easily take an hour for the center of your cookpot to get up to temperature. If you don't account for this, you will get undercooked beans.
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:55 PM
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I soak pintos for 4 days letting them sprout. IMO it makes them taste more mild and provides some carbs.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Pintos tend to get hard if they're stored a while. I've had good experience with all other beans I have used. When people claim dried beans stay hard through cooking... it's because they're not processing them properly. There are three vital aspects to cooking beans that have been dried: the pre-soak, cooking time, and time at which salt is introduced.
I have not pulled any of my pinto beans out of storage yet, most are stored in mylar with O2 absorbers, but the consensus from others is that no matter how they are stored if they are older than 6-7 years old [pinto beans only] they are basically inedible or must be ground into bean power to be turned into a paste. Has that been your experience with longer storage of these beans?
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Mels thinkingitover View Post
Beans are the prepper's friend because they are cheap, filling, versatile and a very good nutrition choice. Some of the beans provide the complete amino group to render them a complete protein. Lots of other nutrition and if you sprout them just a little bit it adds vitamin C to the mix. Introduce your family to them now however. Most tummies don't accept new foods well in crisis situations, kids even less. Introducing big food changes when everyone is already adjusting to a lot of other changes tends to be unsuccessful from a dietary and emotional standpoint. Since there are a lot of "neat" recipes out there using beans, it's not like you are going to have to plop a spoon of beans with no seasonings down in front of your family. People tend to visualize the cowboys around a campfire with a plate of beans, just beans. Yuck.

In the recipe section under the Farming, Gardening and Homesteading section there are bunches of bean recipes. I'm not busy today so I'll go over and bump some to the top of the list. I use a lot of beans in my cooking.

Since you are new to the bean world, a good cookbook might be helpful. On Amazon, if you put "bean cookbook" in the search engine you will come up with a truckload of books. I've been cooking for over 40 years and still checked out a few of the books. These are the two I've like best. They are usable, people friendly and don't have you out searching for ingredients you ccouldn't afford if you found them:

Bean By Bean: A Cookbook: More than 175 Recipes for Fresh Beans, Dried Beans, Cool Beans, Hot Beans, Savory Beans, Even Sweet Beans!: Crescent Dragonwagon: 9780761132417: Amazon.com: Books

Amazon.com: 366 Delicious Ways to Cook Rice, Beans, and Grains (9780452276543): Andrea Chesman: Books
+ 1 on that second book. I'd gotten a copy for myself and my daughter ended up taking it home with her. Had to order another for myself.
We've liked every recipe I've made from it, which is several.
A "must have" prepper cookbook as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:45 PM
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I bought a pressure cooker not long ago just because I've been doing a lot of beans lately. What a difference that makes. Instead of hours of cooking, it is minutes. I haven't been doing it for long so I'd be lying if I tried to answer questions, but I think I'm gonna like it.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:04 PM
NoTea4U NoTea4U is offline
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Originally Posted by Mic View Post
I have not pulled any of my pinto beans out of storage yet, most are stored in mylar with O2 absorbers, but the consensus from others is that no matter how they are stored if they are older than 6-7 years old [pinto beans only] they are basically inedible or must be ground into bean power to be turned into a paste. Has that been your experience with longer storage of these beans?
I have cooked pintos that were as much as 12 years old. The process I detailed above worked for them. I wonder if people have been cooking the beans too quickly, or prematurely adding salt. If ANY salt is added before the beans soften, they'll be like boiled gravel.

The first time I cooked pintos, I combined all my ingredients and slow cooked 6 hours... I didn't think the wee bit of salt would matter. My beans were quite mealy and the overall dish wasn't pleasant. The same beans, slow cooked before ingredients were added, reached that 'oh wow' stage where they're soft as butter. I then added my other ingredients and was very pleased. That's how I learned that the cooking process for beans is very important. The beans in that experience were only 2 years old, but I had beans stored for the world's end in 2000, packed in 1998-1999. Those beans cooked by the same process were most yummy; I finished the last of them in 2012.

Do you have any ancient pinto beans on hand? Try my technique and please post your results! I'm sure you'll be pleased too.

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Originally Posted by bilmac View Post
I bought a pressure cooker not long ago just because I've been doing a lot of beans lately. What a difference that makes. Instead of hours of cooking, it is minutes. I haven't been doing it for long so I'd be lying if I tried to answer questions, but I think I'm gonna like it.
The protein I mentioned above is a defensive lectin called phytohaemagglutinin. It is a natural insecticide within the beans, and it is poisonous to people. You can process beans more rapidly in a pressure cooker, but you will still need to cook them long enough to break down the phytohaemagglutinin. I recommend finding a suitable guide for your cooking times so you don't experience bean poisoning. Symptoms from undercooked beans include vomiting, diarrhea, gas, bloating, nausia, and abdominal pain. I have no experience with pressure cooking beans, so I can't give you cooking times. But a little research is all it takes to be safe.

Some beans have very high concentrations of phytohaemagglutinin, such as red kidney beans and fava beans. It is especially important to cook these beans properly. Note as well that some people are also intolerant to beans just like wheat or dairy. Beans are not food to these people, no matter how they are processed. Allergies to fava beans are the most common. That's not to say one should avoid beans, but it is strong advice to cooking some properly and see how your body likes them before stockpiling.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:36 AM
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I soak them in flavored water - for a little extra flavor , garlic , hot peppers, cinnimon, sassafras
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:18 AM
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I'm cheerleader for lentils and quinoa. More complete proteins than beans, more compact, and require no soaking.

And they lend themselves to many types of recipes and tastes, including quinoa-based pastas.
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:57 AM
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I'm cheerleader for lentils and quinoa. More complete proteins than beans, more compact, and require no soaking.

And they lend themselves to many types of recipes and tastes, including quinoa-based pastas.
How can something be a "more complete protein" than a complete protein? It's kind of like being more female. Ummm, if it is, it is.

Pinto Beans, Blackeyed Peas, and several others have the full complement of amino acids that make a complete protein.

I'm a fan of quinoa because of wheat issues, however, it is not for many budgets a practical food storage item. At almost 4 times the price per pound of beans, it's just not your best buy.

Just a thought.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:00 PM
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My wife is allergic to gluten so I search to alternatives to wheat to grow in the garden. I've tried amaranth, millet, naked barley, and naked oats so far and still don't believe I have the solution. This summer it will be quinoa, we bought a sack to try and I find it pretty good eating, and from what I read it should grow even in Wyoming.
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Old 01-19-2013, 04:43 PM
NoTea4U NoTea4U is offline
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I don't find beans combine well with quinoa but they are great with millet. That's what I add to bean dishes for thickening and bulk. It's healthier than flour, gluten free, and there are no worries about GMO. Millet has a wonderful nutrition profile for it's price.

I also combine millet with quinoa 50/50. You'll notice no difference in texture of your dish, but the quinoa flavor is cut just enough that the bacon, onions, and other spices shine through.

Off topic warning: In the wild, amaranth and quinoa are collectively known as pigweed. I picked seed stock from local plants and had a good crop last year. Wild quinoa provided the best results. It didn't require any tending, out produced everything else (including the local weeds), and required little seed for a large harvest. The animals don't touch it, thanks to the saponin layer which must be removed before eating. The locals don't know it's food, so it's an ideal survival food within a natural garden.
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Old 01-19-2013, 04:56 PM
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Notea

The only problem I had with millet is that I grew red proso. My farmer friend told me that the red variety has too much tannin to be good people food, so I haven't even tried it. So on your word I may try it again. Do you know what variety you are eating??
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:21 PM
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Beans do take a longer time to cook. I worry about the grid and economy as my number 1 SHTF. Both will mean energy is limited either by not coming out of the plug or too costly. So we skip all the worry about that and storage and just cook them now. We pressure can our now so we don't have to later. Just heat and serve. Right now I just sat down with red beans and bacon that we canned in 2010. Onion, tomato and some cheese wrapped in a tortilla. We have about 350 quarts put up. We will shortly add another 100 quarts of soups of various types (when the next norther blows through). One quart will last the two of us for two meals when we add cornbread or noodles or rice and any other veggies or canned fruit we want.
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:22 PM
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Repackage your pintos with mylar and 02 if you haven't already. I finally ended up trashing my very old ones, they were hopeless.

Geezer has it right. My 3-4 year old ones are also getting partially cooked and then canned. It's easy, and it's also water storage and possibly future needed fuel savings.
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mels thinkingitover View Post
How can something be a "more complete protein" than a complete protein? It's kind of like being more female. Ummm, if it is, it is.

Pinto Beans, Blackeyed Peas, and several others have the full complement of amino acids that make a complete protein.

I'm a fan of quinoa because of wheat issues, however, it is not for many budgets a practical food storage item. At almost 4 times the price per pound of beans, it's just not your best buy.

Just a thought.
I am not aware that ANY bean is a complete protein. Perhaps if you mix them together?

AFAIK, no plant source is a complete protein...but that some have more of the protein building blocks than others.
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