Weekend Food Facts - Tips: Dried beans for fiber and protein

2009-02-27 21:58:05 (GMT) (Caymanmama.com - Food News)

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Dried Beans

Looking for a way, out of the usual methods, to add more fiber and protein in your diet? Look no further than the power-packed and remarkably inexpensive dried bean!

Albuquerque, New Mexico (CaymanMama.com) — Looking for a way, out of the usual methods, to add more fiber and protein in your diet? Look no further than the power-packed and remarkably inexpensive dried bean!

Not only do dried beans offer the same fiber and protein as the canned versions, they are also sodium free.

“And, if you buy quality, artisanal dried beans, you will taste the difference,” says Cesare Casella, dean of the Italian Culinary Academy at the International Culinary Center. They’re grown on a smaller scale, harvested more carefully, and likely to be fresher.”

When shopping for dried beans to add to your diet, here is how you should look for and store them:

  • Purchase beans with uniform color. Discolorated beans means they are older than they should be.
  • Stay away from packages with broken beans or shed skins. “Those are signs of careless processing,” Casella says.
  • Store beans in a cool, dark place. Use them within a year of purchase.
  • Before cooking beans, soak them four to 12 hours, depending on the size the bean. Smaller beans need less time to soak. They will swell as they absorb water. After draining, rinse thoroughly and cook.

The following beans come highly recommended from Cooking Light Magazine:

Lentils - Tender and savory; require no soaking and cook quickly.
Cooking suggestion: Simmer with potatoes and seasonings to make a savory stew.

Cannellini (white navy beans) - Versatile with a delicate flavor and texture. Cook gently to avoid mushiness.
Cooking suggestion: Good choice for soups like pasta e fagioli; pair well with tomatoes.

Borlotti (cranberry beans) - Creamy texture; earthy flavor; thin skin.
Cooking suggestion: Season with sage and garlic, and serve as a side with steak or pork.

Corona beans - Slightly mealy texture and meaty taste. Best in long, slow cooking recipes
Cooking suggestion: Combine with tuna, onions, and olive oil in a main-course salad.

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) - Nutty flavor.
Cooking suggestion: Even more than hummus; sauté with greens like kale.



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