Ever heard of LDS beans? Well, there's no such thing, really, but in my sister-in-law's church (of which I have no part except these beans) Food Storage is a muy big deal. I tease her about it relentlessly, but if the fit hits the shan, we'll all be at the doors of our LDS compatriots begging for a cup of rice or a bottle of water.
So, anyway, mi cunada knows hubby and I are going through a rough time financially. When she came to visit recently, she kindly brought three cases of canned food. Not 15 oz. cans of Ranch Style Beans, apricots, and sweet corn, oh no, these are BIG cans that were canned in the church. They're #10 food storage cans, like Folders coffee used to come in--you know the ones, Grandma used to sew five of them up in some padded cloth to make mini-ottomans out of them.
What did she bring me? Dry pinto beans and rice. And one can full of wheat seeds because she's determined I need to grow my own wheatgrass. Which I am. The beans and rice are nine years old, almost to the day. The label says they're best if used within 8 years of canning. But what does a label know? The wheat seeds are only about six years old.
The rice cooked up fine, the wheat sprouts and grows just fine, but the beans? Well.... they've been a challenge. The first time I attempted to make them I prepared them like I do any batch of pinto beans, an overnight soak followed by two to two and a half hours cooking with lots of yummy spices. It took seven hours to get these beans soft enough for eating. But they were bitter. La cunada insisted they were perfectly edible when she tried them (at 3 hrs. 38 min. cooking time). I disagreed and ended up tossing the whole batch a couple of days later.
But I'm not giving up on these old beans! Not with eleven unopened cans still sitting on my living room floor. I just put two pounds of them in a pot to soak and this time I'll try two nights of soaking instead of one. I'll drain them and add fresh water once or twice a day. I usually cook beans in the water they're soaked in so as not to pour out any beany goodness, but not this go around. I want to purge them a bit.
Beans are cheaper than dirt and I could just go buy a few pounds at the grocery store. But where's the challenge in that? I'll report on the beans in a few days, sans photos I think. Breaking the battery cover on the camera was apparently too much for it--it took a few pix for me tonight, grudgingly, and then it just flat out refused to cooperate at all. I'm surprised I was even able to upload these photos!
Beans are definitely a cheap and tasty food--and while they aren't fast they certainly don't require a lot of fuss. Pick out the dirt clods and the mutant beans, put them to bed for an overnight soak (not a must but they do come out tastier if they're soaked), add some simple seasonings and spices, let them sit for couple of hours on low heat and you've got a pot full of yum. Cook a bunch and freeze them, they freeze great, and you've got a very handy and versatile food ready when you need it.
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