Beans the Magical Fruit
The humble bean. Beans the Magical Fruit. Often the “butt” of many jokes beans have a bad rap: verboten in Paleo circles for reasons of anti-nutrients, undigestible for some and the fuel of many an embarrassing toot. Yes, beans can cause gas however when properly prepared beans are not only easily digestible, they are incredibly delicious, inexpensive and offer a satisfying low-glycemic, prebiotic boost of carbohydrate. Holy smokes! I know, it seems anathema these days to suggest that carbs won’t immediately cause one to balloon in size instantly: busting the seams of ones pants the moment after consumption.
I suggest we can maintain a healthy weight, fuel an active lifestyle and keep our food budget in check by including properly prepared beans in our diet. I know this is true because I love love love beans (and legumes) and not only still fit even my snuggest pants, I find that my athletic performance is enhanced when consuming these humble treats. I love adding beans to soups but my ultimate favorite way to enjoy beans is a bowl of refried beans, preferably fried up in bacon fat. As any honest Googler knows, we can find all kinds of conflicting advice when it comes to the optimum foods for health. I trust my body and welcome the long history of bean consumption in healthful populations as further proof that beans are an ideal component to the modern diet.
When considering your food budget, beans are an excellent way to off-set expensive items such as grass-fed meat and organic produce. A chili featuring properly prepared beans and grass-fed ground meat and organic onions & peppers can feed a crowd for a tiny fraction of the cost of hamburgers for everyone. For the Revivalist Kitchen holiday party, we made a cassoulet that dressed up beans in their finest and took them out in a more glamorous, and budget taxing, incarnation that was so incredibly worth the effort & investment. Beans are incredibly versatile and can be dressed up or down depending on your needs.
Good for you
As far as health benefits go beans are a low-glycemic protein and carbohydrate containing food. Beans contain minerals such as potassium and B-vitamins, plus they offer fiber that serves as a pre-biotic: food for all the good bacteria in our gut that we work so hard to maintain. For someone on a gut healing protocol, the fiber content of beans may further irritate the gut lining and should be avoided during the healing process. I see beans as an excellent food that can be a strong part of a maintenance diet, not always a food for everyone. Also for a person suffering from gout, due to high purine contents some dried beans may cause further flares and may want to be avoided. Proper preparation of beans is non-negotiable when it comes to accessing the health benefits of beans and neutralizing any of the harmful anti-nutrients that beans contain, as well as preventing flatulance.
Preparation is the Key
For maximum health and economical benefits I suggest becoming familiar with cooking beans from dried versus popping open a can. I find the texture of canned beans to be mushy and unpalatable, often the cans contain BPA in the liner, I always prefer sea salt and I do not know of one brand of canned beans that promote the fact that they soak their beans before cooking. Now I know that I am suggesting a method that takes time and pre-planning but it can be done successfully and with the use of a pressure cooker and your freezer, you can prepare large batches of beans with ease and freeze for your convenience. If you do not have a pressure cooker, beans can be cooked on the stovetop, they just take a little more time. Give beans another chance if you have avoided them in the past, by using these steps below you can prepare digestible and delicious beans every time.
Beans from the Revivalist Kitchen
1. Purchase high quality beans and use promptly. Old beans are a challenge to cook and do not provide equal nutritional value to fresh, dried beans. Bulk bins are a good option here as the turnover tends to be high, not to mention bulk bins are often inexpensive and reduce packaging waste. For an additional treat use heirloom beans from a farm local to you. We made our Christmas cassoulet with some incredible tarbais beans from Rancho Gordo: soaked for 24 hours and cooked in pork broth.
2. Soak your beans at least overnight in fresh, pure water. This will ensure even cooking and help to leech some of the anti-nutrient phytic acid from the bean: a form of natural protection for the plant that interferes with mineral absorption.
3. Fully cook your beans in bone broth or fresh water, not the soaking liquid. Cooking beans all the way reduces the amount of lectins they contain. Lectins are a type of protein that interferes with digestion and a major reason why beans are not an appropriate part of the diet of some people with leaky gut or other compromises to digestion. Not to mention crunchy, undercooked beans are jut not tasty.
4. Even if cooking your beans in a pressure cooker, skim the foam that rises to the top. I always joke that the foam is where the farts are. Juvenile, yes but also effective. Bring the beans and fresh water (or for even more of a nutritional punch cook the beans in broth) up to a simmer, skim skim skim then cook as directed.
5. Season you beans after they are cooked or at least towards the very end. Adding salt too early will toughen the skins of the beans. I like to fully cook the beans in the pressure cooker and then salt the beans in the liquid and let it all cool down together.
6. For optimum texture, I find that beans are better the day after cooking. They seem to be creamier, with a smoother feel.
Keep on cooking!…Click through below for more real food recipes!
© Copyright 2015 Revivalist Kitchen. All rights reserved.