If you think you need to stand over a hot stove all day to enjoy tasty bean dishes, think again. A quick soaking method and a slew of canned bean varieties, help you whip up fabulous recipes in no time. And beans' subtle flavor makes them a terrific foundation for entrees and side dishes.
Legumes are also loaded with protein, soluble fiber, folic acid, and iron. Protein and soluble fiber digest more slowly, keeping you satisfied longer. So, think of your pantry as a big tool-box full of potential for quick, delicious bean dishes.
For more about bean varieties, cooking methods, and other helpful tips, visit www.americanbean.org, www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/, or the Canned Food Alliance at www.mealtime.org/about.
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Fast Facts on Beans
- Soaking dried beans softens and rehydrates them, reducing cooking time. It also dissolves some of the gas-causing substances, making beans more digestible. (Discard soaking water before cooking.)
- One pound dried packaged beans equals 2 cups dried or 6 cups cooked. Use 10 cups hot water for every 2 cups beans.
- Most beans triple their size when rehydrated, so start with a large enough pot.
- To ensure thorough cooking, add acidic ingredients, such as tomatoes, vinegar, wine, or citrus juices, when beans are almost tender. If you add them too soon, the acids won't allow the beans to soften.
- Cooked beans may be stored in the refrigerator for four to five days or frozen in heavy-duty zip-top plastic bags or sealable plastic containers for up to six months.
- Canned beans have a shelf life of 2 years from date of purchase.