Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Freeze Grain Not Beans, and other useful tidbits

Why do you freeze whole grains when you take them home, but not beans?

Beans get stored just like whole grains do, in silos, in bins, and all kinds of containers.  What is the purpose of freezing grain anyway?  When you take whole grains home, even the ones that are in shiny packages and look positively clean - they can still harbor things - like bugs.  Only once did I get a grain bug that hatched inside the glass jar I had stored some brown rice.  Once was all it took for me to forever freeze my grains for 24 hours when I brought them home.

If you cook what you have immediately, don't worry.  Cooking is going to kill any eggs or larve that could potentially be attached.  It doesn't happen often, but often enough that freezing is a good practice.

Why not freeze beans?  Have you ever cooked your beans and they just wouldn't get soft?  No matter how long you cooked them, no matter how much water you added, they still had an unpleasant tooth to the darn things.  I've even had to throw away whole batches on occasion.  More in New York than when I lived in L.A. (during winter).  Beans can get "stale" when they are frozen.  I'm using the word loosely.  They change just enough, that they no longer cook up well.  Just the same as when you store them for too long. (And remember not to use salt until beans are fully cooked.  That too will prevent them from getting soft.  A piece of kombu might seem salty, but that will make them taste great and be far more digestible.)

Of course you could always purchase canned beans that are already cooked.   They are good to use, but do not have as rich of a taste as freshly prepared beans.  They are just as filling, but a little less strengthening when you buy those canned one.  Beans in general are supportive for the kidneys and adrenal glands.  Think energy and strength without the fat of animal foods.

Beans are wonderful in all types of cuisine.  If you haven't experimented with them much, start with a soup, dip, or toss them in a salad.  Just remember not to freeze them when you take them home.  Freeze whole grains, not beans.

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