NDSU Extension - Morton County


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May 21, 2018 Beans the Magical Fruit

Vanessa Hoines, Extension Agent
For the week of May 21, 2018


Beans: the Magical Fruit

The more beans you eat, the more you can improve your health.

Dry beans an important part of the backyard barbeque and grilling season.  No picnic is complete without beans.  As we enter the season of enjoying both friends and food outside, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Dry edible beans, such as pinto, navy, kidney, pink and black beans, are members of the legume family. These nutrient-rich foods provide protein, fiber, B vitamins, iron, potassium and magnesium, and they may help protect us from diseases including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. These inexpensive ingredients cost less than 10 cents per half cup. After soaking and cooking, dry beans can be used in dips, salads, soups, casseroles and even desserts. Check out the free online cookbook “Spillin’ the Beans,” available at www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn1646_full.pdf.

Here’s how to soak and use dry beans in your cooking.

1. Inspect the dry beans, removing any broken beans or foreign materials.

2. Rinse the beans thoroughly in cold water.

3. Soak the beans using the preferred method.

• Add 10 cups of cold water to the pot for each pound (2 cups) of beans. Bring the water to a boil, then boil for one to three minutes. Remove from heat and cover the pot. Let stand. A four-hour soak is ideal for high-quality beans.

4. Drain and rinse the soaked beans. Draining and rinsing the beans helps remove natural sugars that may cause intestinal gas.

5. Cook the beans. Add fresh, cold water to cover the beans. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil if you wish. Adding oil helps prevents foaming and boiling over. Heat to boiling, then reduce the heat to simmer gently until the beans are tender. Cooking times vary with the type, size and age of beans, but generally cooking takes one to two hours. While the beans are cooking, add more water if necessary to keep them covered. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking during cooking. You should be able to mash the cooked beans easily between two fingers or with a fork.

6. Drain and rinse the beans immediately after they have reached the desired texture. Refrigerate the beans until ready to use.

7. Use soaked, cooked beans in place of canned beans in your favorite recipes.

Add flavorings, such as the following, after the beans are cooked:

• Acidic ingredients such as lemon juice, vinegar, tomatoes, chili sauce, ketchup and molasses increase the depth of flavor in your recipes.

• Onions can be added any time during the cooking process. However, onions retain their flavor best when added during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

• Herbs and spices can be added any time, but they gradually lose flavor during long cooking, so add them closer to the end of the cooking.

• Salt: Use minimal amounts to limit the sodium content.

Here’s a sweet bean recipe to try.

Peanut Butter Black Bean Brownies

1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
3 eggs
3 Tbsp. canola oil
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. peanut butter
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch salt
1/2 c. peanut butter chips
1/4 c. dark chocolate chunks
Crushed peanuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly coat an 8- by 8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Put black beans in a strainer and rinse thoroughly, then place in food processor with oil and process until smooth/creamy. Add eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, peanut butter, baking powder and salt; process until smooth. Add half the amount of peanut butter chips and pulse the food processor to mix in the chips. Repeat with the remaining chips, along with the chocolate chunks. Put the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Top with chopped peanuts if desired. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan. You can test the center by inserting a toothpick. If the brownies are done, the toothpick will come out clean. Let brownies cool for 10 minutes, then cut into 2-inch squares.

Makes 16 servings. Each serving has 130 calories, 6 grams (g) fat, 4 g protein, 17 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber and 115 milligrams sodium.

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