This is part 1 of a three-part series on the amazing power of White Beans! How to make them, how to puree them and how to integrate them into recipes. Not only are these beans vegan, but incredibly high in fiber and protein. They make a great breakfast spread on toast, an addition to salads and one-pot meals.
When I first began making home-made beans, the fruits of my labor were disasterous. I soaked, I rinsed, I added baking soda, I salted before I boiled, and I stirred too much. It seemed like I was never going to master making home-made beans.
But, there was hope. More people are making home-made beans now more than ever because of the health benefits and the cost savings. Health benefits include having control over sodium (for those who are on low sodium diets), increasing fiber in your diet, and keeping your diet full of low glycemic foods (good for diabetics). Livestrong.com has a lot to say about their benefits.
So be not afraid. Buy that bag of white navy beans. There, didn’t set you back too far did it? You’re going to get a lot of meals from this bag. And this Brooklyn Allergy Mom is going to help you get there.
White Beans (Basic)
Take your bag of beans. Pour the bags into a large wide bowl. Pick through the beans while you’re on the phone with your best friend, sister, mother, OR make a game with your kids to see who can find the UGLIEST bean! Pick out any beans that are split, wrinkly or otherwise discolored.
Place beans in a colander. Rinse well under cold running water.
Place the beans in a large 6 1/2 Quart Pot and cover with cold water by TWO inches (or four fingers from the top of the beans to the edge of the water).
Place a one inch piece of kombu in with the beans. (Omit if you’re making low or no sodium).
Place one large onion or two small onions cut in half in with the beans, along with any fresh herbs you have on hand such as rosemary, oregano or parsley. (You may also skip the herbs and/or the onion).
Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium low, and simmer half covered for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, pull out a bean, if you can cut it and it yields to a fork, then place desired amount of salt in the water and stir once (for no or low sodium, omit the salt). If at anytime the water gets too low, add about 1/2 cup of warm water.
After another 55 minutes, test the beans. If they’re too hard, cook them longer, if they’re perfect, stop here. Do not EVER get rid of the cooking liquid. That is GOLD! I’ll explain more in Allergy Free White Beans Part 2 on Wednesday.