Sunday, May 22, 2011

52 Week Food Storage - Week #21

Week # 21: 25 lbs White Beans

White Beans:

Similar to other beans, the common bean is high in starch, protein and dietary fiber and is an excellent source of iron, potassium, selenium, molybdenum, thiamine, vitamin B6, and folic acid. The small, white navy bean, also called pea bean or haricot, is particularly popular in Britain and the US, featured in such dishes as baked beans and even pies, as well as in various soups

Kinds of White Beans: (Navy bean varieties include)
* Great northern beans
* Rainy River
* Robust
* Michelite
* Sanilac
Other white beans are Cannellini (a quite popular variety in Central and Southern Italy) and Great Northern.

Dry beans will keep indefinitely if stored in a cool, dry place, but as time passes, their nutritive value and flavor degrade and cooking times lengthen.
  • Store in cool, dry area.
  • After opening, store the dried beans in an airtight container or place original package in a resealable plastic bag.
  • Storage time shown is for best quality only — after that, the beans’ texture, color or flavor may change, but in most cases, they will still be safe to consume if they have been stored properly.
  • If beans develop an off odor, flavor or appearance, they should be discarded.
  • “Best By,” “Best if Used By,” and “Use By” dates on commercially packaged foods sold in the United States represent the manufacturer’s estimate of how long the product will remain at peak quality — in most cases, the beans will still be safe to consume after that date, as long they have been stored properly and the package is not damaged.
Dried beans are almost always cooked by boiling, often after having been soaked for several hours. While the soaking is not strictly necessary, it shortens cooking time and results in more evenly textured beans. In addition, discarding one or more batches of soaking water leaches out hard-to-digest complex sugars that can cause flatulence, though those who eat beans regularly rarely have difficulties with flatulence as intestinal microbes adjust. There are several methods including overnight soaking, and the power soak method, which is to boil beans for three minutes, then set them aside for 2-4 hours, then drain and discard the water and proceed with cooking. Common beans take longer to cook than most pulses: cooking times vary from one to four hours but are substantially reduced with pressure cooking.

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