Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Fine Kettle of ... Beans?

Yesterday I mentioned soaking some beans until they sprout and then cooking them. And Bonnie asked how one cooks sprouted beans and I said just like unsprouted beans. And then I cruised around in my Googlemobile, to find examples to share. The best site for that info seems to be the one at Walton Feed. If you scroll down just a little way, under Cooking Beans you will find the key paragraph on soaking, including the sprout-and-cook bit.

Mind you, I heard of this method many years ago, probably from some source like Organic Gardening or Prevention or maybe Mother Earth News. Never tried it, though, because I was always too impatient to wait that long.

In the process of hunting down the above details, I ran across some information that is totally new to me. Did you know there is a toxin in the common bean that can make you sick if you eat the bean raw or undercooked? Red kidney beans are supposed to be worst for that. Now, I remember we were always warned to be sure to boil home-canned green beans but I sure never heard any such scuttlebutt about dry beans.

Probably because there isn't a whole lot of likelihood that one is going to fall victim to the toxin. For one thing, the raw sprouts of kidney beans are supposed to taste so awful, you wouldn't ingest enough to get sick. Cooking changes the flavor to pleasant -- and gets rid of the toxin. However, undercooked beans can be more toxic than the raw ones. That, apparently, is most likely to happen if folks cook the beans in their crock pots at too low a temperature. It's important to be sure they boil for at least 10 minutes, according to the info I found.

For what it's worth. In any case, I'm still waiting for my Cranberry beans to sprout. Tonight is the end of the second day so I figure I'll see some action tomorrow or the next day. I'm curious to see if there is any particular difference in flavor. The sprouted beans are supposed to cook faster. Astray Recipes lists comparative cooking times for different kinds of beans. I think the Pinto beans are pretty close to my Cranberry beans. For Pintos, the timing is: "Unsoaked, 3 hours; soaked overnight, 2 hours; sprouted 2-3 days, 10 minutes." We'll see.

Oh! I keep forgetting to answer Jo's question from awhile back. Jo, you asked what the problem was with the sourdough gingerbread cake that I made a few days ago. I'm not sure exactly why it turned out the way it did. Perhaps my starter was of a thinner consistency than it should have been. All I can tell you is the outside of the cake looked fine. The inside was congealed pudding. It broke my heart because the flavor was wonderful. Ah well. The fellow who provided the recipe for the carrot cake also has one for gingerbread so I'll give his version a try somewhere down the road.

First, though, the sprouted beans. One culinary adventure at a time, thank you very much.


bb said...

Well now lady since I make comments all over the world I never get back to read for answers so I'd missed that one. lol

I sure do appreciate your googlemobile though. :-)

Jo said...

Ah, I knew you wouldn't forget to answer my question, Dee. And, thus, you have. I suppose more cooking wouldn't have helped it, eh.

Dee said...

You can ride in my Googlemobile any time, Bonnie. (smile)

Jo, no, the extra cooking was out. The sides were already pulling away from the pan and the edges getting ready to burn. It was just one of those Murphy's Law cakes, I'm afraid.