|The Versatile Grain|
|by Sheryl and Mel London|
For the consumer, there are four basic categories of beans: * Fresh Shell Beans: Snow peas, green peas, sugar snap peas, string beans, lima beans, runner beans, yellow wax bean, purple crowder peas, tan and mottled red cranberry beans and black-eyed peas. When they're in season, there's no real substitute. * Dried Beans: With the largest selection of all the categories, in supermarkets, specialty shops and ethnic and natural food stores. They are the easiest to process, ship and store. * Frozen Beans: With some varieties frozen very quickly after harvesting, thus maintaining flavor and nutrition, though losing some textural qualities. * Canned Beans: Acceptable under certain conditions with some important guidelines. Whenever a recipe calls for the use of cooked beans, canned beans can be used as a substitute, so long as they are drained and rinsed before adding to the recipe.
Dried Beans: Any airtight container will do, and the room should be fairly cool. Keep in mind that beans do age and the longer they remain on display, the longer they'll take to reconstitute through soaking, and to soften when they cook. Contents of packages bought several months apart should not be mixed when storing, since older beans will take longer to cook. Cooked Beans: Cooked beans will keep quite well in the refrigerator for up to three days and they can be frozen for much longer periods of time. * Divide your cooked beans in portion sizes or recipe-size containers. If you freeze too many, they'll form an impossible, solid block of beans. * Cooked beans will keep in the freezer for up to one year. * Packages of beans from the freezer case at the supermarket will also keep from six months up to one year. * Bean soups will keep in the freezer for three to six months.
Spread the beans in a pan and then pick through them carefully, removing and discarding and foreign matter.
Submitted By DIANE LAZARUS On 03-19-95
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