December 16, 2013

Beans.... Sprouting and Canning

I like beans for many reasons, but mainly because they are cheap, filling and healthy no matter how you choose to eat.
Buying beans in a can takes away from the value that dried beans give you, as in they are not cheap, and you risk all the additives and sodium as well.
It is so easy to prepare dried beans.  I'll repeat that for you.  IT IS EASY.  You can do it.
The thing is, there are many options in making beans.  You can use a quick method or spend days soaking and then sprouting them.  I prefer to soak and sprout, but since it is time intensive, when I make up a batch I make a bunch and can them.

So why would you want to consider sprouting beans before using them?
Sprouting increases enzymes and activates the vitamins and minerals within the bean, seed, or grain.  Both protein and fiber increase in quality and quantity.

Like most things in life, my issue with dried beans is that I usually forget I need them until I start cooking the meal.  You can always do a quick cook, but it's nice to just be able to open a jar that I canned myself, and have them quickly ready to go.

If you homeschool, then chances are you have done the experiment where you take a bean and give it a few days under a couple of different conditions to sprout.  The one kept moist and in the dark did the best, most likely.
That's kind of where I'm going today.
When you sprout a seed or a bean, you are releasing enzymes and unlocking nutrition.  It also helps digestion as well.

If you have ever made sprouts of any kind, the technique is the same..... soak, drain, rinse.

Soak your beans or seeds in fresh, cool water overnight or for 6-8 hours.  The beans will swell and almost double in volume so make sure the bowl you use is large enough to hold the increased amount.  You might also need to add more soaking water if it all soaks into the beans.

Black beans soaking
Seeds being soaked

Black beans draining in a strainer over a bowl
Drain and rinse the bean, grain or seed.  You will want to keep them moist, but not damp.  If you work with a smaller quantity until you get the concept down and feel comfortable, it will be easier.  For small seeds it is often easier to use a quart mason jar, for a quart or two of beans you can use a colander.  For larger amounts, like a couple of gallons, I just use a large bowl. 

Rinse the sprouts-to-be every few hours, about every 3-5 hours, with clean water.
The idea is that you want them to remain moist, but not wet.  If I have a big batch in a bowl I will rinse them more frequently so that they get moved around and are not sitting in water.
Mold is the enemy here and you don't want it to start growing.  Regular rinsing helps prohibit this.
I also usually cover with a cloth or lid so that they won't dry out.
The end point is the emergence of a root or sprout, the choice is really yours. For beans, I like to start the cooking process right when the sprout shows in most of the beans.  When they start to get long roots you will see more the hulls of the beans coming off and I just find that I prefer that product over a long sprout.

Mixture of seeds and mung beans in
glass jar with strainer screen

After you have sprouted, you can use or cook as needed.  Grains for baking bread will need to be ground before use.  If you want a flour, you will need dry them using the oven at a low temperature or a dehydrator.

I use the Ball Blue Book's (it's an affiliate link, but it is cheaper at walmart during canning season so buy it there instead) recipe for canning beans at this point by putting the beans in a large pot covered with water and then cooking them for 30 minutes.  This cooks them only partially and the pressure canning for 90 minutes processes them to where they are perfect every time.
If you are just wanting a batch of beans, then cook in water for about an hour or until tender.  Add salt and seasonings and then cook for another 30-60 minutes or so.
This post is shared with Gwen's Nest for Trim, Healthy Tuesday.

1 comment:

Gwen said...

Great tips here! I agree that making them at home is really, really easy.

My best tip is this: add salt last, after the beans are totally soft from cooking. I've also found that old beans can be very challenging to rehydrate and cook to the soft stage.