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Friday, April 20, 2012

Beans Beans the Magical Fruit

Beans are super nutritious. Just 1 cup, of these complex carbohydrates, contains about 16 grams of protein, not to mention they're a great source of fiber, calcium and folate (americanbean.org). WebMD reported a study that showed, "bean eaters weighed, on average, 7 pounds less and had slimmer waists than their bean-avoiding counterparts". Well, I'm sold! My favorites are probably black and lentil, but I like having a wide assortment on hand. Have you ever tried reconstituting dried beans? If you haven't tried, you should. Now that we do this, it's hard to think about having canned beans. The only trick to this is knowing you're going to want them so you can prepare them. To reconstitute beans, except lentils, add 3 parts water to 1 part beans (6 cups water to 2 cups beans). Let the beans soak 4-6 hours (or overnight), then drain and rinse. To cook, add just enough water to cover, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low for 1 hour, or until tender. Lentils are much easier to prepare as they don't need to soak. Just add them to boiling water (3 parts water to 1 part lentils) and boil 20-30 minutes (red lentils take less time than the more popular green, or French, lentils). A great tip is to make a large batch of beans, then freeze what you don't need for your dish. We usually do a rice and bean dinner once a week, make black bean burgers and add them to soups. Whatever you do, give beans a chance!  

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