Lesson 4. How to cook plant seeds aka beans

In this lesson, you will learn how to cook various plant seeds.  (From Lesson B in the eBooklet.)

Bean is another word for large plant seed. As you know, beans are also called legumes, lentils, pulses, dahls, daals, and gram depending on the plant and region where they are eaten most. I’ll use the different terms for plant seeds interchangeably because of the way that the plant seeds are referred to in their particular region. If we’re discussing a kidney bean recipe, I might say “Put the beans in water.” But if I’m talking about a red lentil recipe, I’ll say “Put the lentils in water.” And if we’re talking about a mung dahl (also spelled daal) recipe, I’ll probably say “Put the dahl in water.” If this is confusing, just think 'plant seed' when I refer to beans, legumes, lentils, pulses, dahl or daals and move on in the recipe.

How to cook all dried beans (plant seeds) (from 
Lesson 2 in the eBooklet) 

The procedure for cooking any dried beans is the same regardless of where you cook them. They can be cooked

    In a pot on the stove top
    In a pressure cooker
    In a slow cooker

The only thing that changes is the amount of water needed and the amount of time needed to cook them.

Here are the directions on how to cook any bean based on the cooking method being used. The most important thing to know about cooking all dried beans (and even canned bean) is that they should be cooked ALONE in water until completely cooked i.e. mushy enough for your taste. Adding anything other than water to your pot of dried beans will not allow the legumes to become cooked and mushy.

Hard beans - no more
Beans, plant seeds, have a skin around them. When they are exposed to any kind of acidic ingredient or salt, the skin around them tightens and it becomes taut. This prohibits the boiling water from entering the bean and cooking the inside (no matter how long you cook them). The result is that the bean stays hard and uncooked inside. (I personally believe that this is the biggest reason why more people don’t adopt a plant-protein diet.) Now you have the first “issue” licked with regard to your transition to a plant-based diet!

Issues with gas - no more 
(from Lesson 2 in the eBooklet) 
I'm a cooker, a teacher, and an eater. I have no medical knowledge at all. I'm not trying to share any medical knowledge - just cooking knowledge. I believe there are two matters to address with regard to a plant-based diet and gas. First, plant-based diets usually have a lot more fiber than what you're used to. Eventually, your system gets used to the increased fiber and it handles it well over time.  Beans have a lot of fiber. That's good. You'll get used to it. 

Then there's a second component to managing a transition to beans. I'll say that there's "a carbohydrate" in beans' skin that has a hard time breaking down in the gut. This carbohydrate is water-soluble. There's a method (see below) to get that carbohydrate out of the beans' skin so you won't be bothered. It seems that even this issue goes away over time and you don't have to de-gas your beans after a while on this diet. 

    If you feel you need to "de-gas" the beans, do this: 
        a. Cover beans in the pot with water (use as little water as possible) 
        b. Bring beans to a boil (see foam on top of water) 
        c. Throw water away (gas producing component is in the foam) 
        d. Do this procedure three times. 
    This whole procedure shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. 
    (The more beans you eat, the less you’ll need to do this. Your body adjusts. I promise. Just give it some time.) 


This is how you cook dried beans in a pot on the stove top
(from Lesson 3 in the eBooklet) 

(Soaking beans, while not necessary, always helps speed the process along when you intend to cook your beans on the stove top. Putting some beans to soak on your counter top every night before going to bed is a great idea. (If you aren’t able to cook them the next day, just put the soaked beans in the frig. They’ll keep for several days.) 

1. Measure amount
2. Sift and rinse – look for pieces of twigs and stones (it’s rare to find but you still have to look).
    
    If you feel you need to perform a “degassing” procedure, do it at this point.
       
3. For every one cup of dried beans, you’ll use two, three, or four cups tap water to cook them (the recipe will tell you).
4. Bring beans to a boil.
5. Turn heat down to a simmer.
6. Cook dried beans in water ALONE for necessary amount of time (see table) or until they are completely mushy.
7. In a separate frying pan, fry up your seasonings and your veggies. 
8. Add the cooked beans to this fried medley in the frying pan. Add only enough beans so that the ratio of beans to seasonings taste right for you. Freeze up the remaining cooked beans for another meal. 
9. Serve with rice or something else.

This is how you cook dried beans in a pressure cooker 
(from Lesson 4 in eBooklet)

This is an investment you should make. It will speed up your cooking times. And it never requires any pre-soaking.

Pressure cookers run hot and they cook things fast. They can burn the food and the pot. (I speak from experience!) if you don’t pay attention. They cannot be left unattended. So make sure you use enough water and pay attention to the cook times that your personal pressure cooker takes to cook various beans. Many pressure cooker users count the number of times the pressure cooker "whistles" (the term used by some to explain the steam escaping from time-to-time). They eventually remember the number of whistles to cook the various beans. So black beans might require 5 "whistles" and plain French lentils might require only 1 whistle. Make notes of how many whistles your pressure cooker takes to cook various beans.  You'll find that your overall cooking time will come down significantly.

1. Measure amount
2. Sift and rinse – look for pieces of twigs and stones (it’s rare to find but you still have to look).
3. For every one cup legumes, use two, three, or four cups tap water to cook the legumes (recipe will tell you).
4. Cook dried beans in water ALONE for necessary amount of time (see table)
5. Put beans and water into the pressure cooker and close according to the cooker’s instructions. 
    (Make sure you are using all the safety procedures.)
6. Bring cooker to a boil.
7. Turn heat down to a manageable level but high enough to cook as quickly as you like.  
8. Since you can’t check to see if the beans are fully cooked, make note of your cooker’s cooking time or the 
    number of whistles it's made so you know how much time to allocate. Having this info will speed up future batches.  
9. Take pressure cooker off the heat and allow to cool appropriately. Do not force the lid off. It could explode and 
    burn people and it will definitely make a mess in the kitchen. (Again I speak from experience!) Follow maker’s instructions.
10. In a separate frying pan, fry up your seasonings and your veggies. 
11. Add the cooked beans to this fried medley in the frying pan. Add only enough beans so that the ratio of beans 
    to seasonings taste right for you. Freeze up the remaining cooked beans for another meal. 
12. Serve with rice or something else.


This is how you cook dried beans in a slow-cooker (aka crock pot) 
(from Lesson 5 in the eBooklet)

1. Measure amount. 
2. Sift and rinse beans.  
3. For every one cup dried beans, use six, seven, or eight cups tap water to cook the legumes. Start with six cups 
    tap water and increase the amount depending on how hot your slow cooker runs and if you're making soup or stew.
    (Slow cookers usually require more water because they’ll be cooking longer and there’s more opportunity for the 
    water to evaporate.) Make note of what yours requires.
4. Put beans and water ALONE into the slow-cooker.
5. Turn heat on high.
6. When using the slow-cooker, you are usually going to let it cook through the night while you are sleeping or through 
    the day while you’re at work.
10. In a separate frying pan, fry up your seasonings and your veggies. 
11. Add the cooked beans to this fried medley in the frying pan. Add only enough beans so that the ratio of beans 
    to seasonings taste right for you. Freeze up the remaining cooked beans for another meal. 
12. Serve with rice or something else.

This is how you cook canned beans (from Lesson 6 in eBooklet)

1. Open can.
2. Drain out water. 
3. Rinse beans several times in tap water. 
4. Cook alone in a pan with some water until beans come to a boil.
5. In a separate frying pan, fry up your seasonings and your veggies. 
6. Add the cooked beans to this fried medley in the frying pan. Add only enough beans so that the ratio of beans 
    to seasonings taste right for you. Freeze up the remaining cooked beans for another meal. 
7. Serve with rice or something else. 

I’m not a great fan of canned beans. It might have something to do with the way they are prepared prior to being canned which result in them having a slightly harder skin than what I would prefer. But they’re great to have around in a pinch. I do use them regularly to make veggie cutlets.

This lesson is done.

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