Friday, November 14, 2014

Curse of the Dried Beans

I'm a fan of tinned beans. If I had to guess, I'd say I've mentioned tinned beans on this blog more than any other food. Mostly because dried beans hate me. That's life. But I have a two-part problem: a) they don't sell tinned beans here, and b) I like to cook with beans. This leaves me with the dried bean option.

I like hummus, and they don't sell that here, either. So I broke down and bought a bag of chickpeas. Every few days I would think about making hummus. I'd look at the chickpeas in their plastic package, and recall they had to be soaked overnight. "Oh, well, it is only one o'clock; I'll do that later." And then forget.

Last night I pulled myself together. I ripped open the package, tossed the chickpeas in a bowl, and covered them with water.
"Let's give this a try, okay little chickpeas?" My track record is not good. I was reasonably certain the chickpeas would be green and disgusting by morning.
The sun came up, and all looked well in the bowl. I checked the directions: bring to a boil, then simmer 20-30 minutes.
Which I did. And they softened. And by 30 minutes in, they actually tasted pretty good. I was feeling quite pleased with myself until I dropped one down my shirt. (Note to the ladies: do not get hot chickpeas stuck in your bra. It really hurts, and is too embarrassing to relate to anyone except strangers on the internet.)

I drained the chickpeas and smiled at them in the colander. Well done, Amy, you master chef, you! But something was niggling at me. I picked up the colander and peered at my peas. One, two, three... there have to be six cups of cooked chickpeas in there. How many cups do I need? One. One cup.

I guess you aren't supposed to reconstitute the whole bag at once. Does anyone know if you can freeze hummus? I'll be over by the blender, peeling a million gloves of garlic.


Stacey said...

Freeze 'em! Cook the chickpeas (or any bean for that matter) in a big batch, then put what you don't need into a ziploc and freeze'em till you're ready! If you freeze them flat in the ziploc then you can just break off the right amount you need next time without having to defrost the whole bag. Easy Peasy!

Amy Schaefer said...

Aha! I knew the information was out there. Thanks, Stacey.

Stacey said...

I really hated dried beans...for years I could just never get them to cook right, so I just avoided them. Canned beans were all I bothered to buy.

Until I read a bunch of articles saying how important it is to make sure you add salt to both the soaking water and the cooking water. A big sciency explanation about an exchange of ions across the cell wall.....but the point is: perfectly cooked dried beans ever since. Google it.

Little Red and the Wolf said...

Good job! Dried beans are tricky.

Another tip from Micheal Smithis that dried beans can soak in a pickle jar for up to a week in the fridge. This gives them more time to absorb the water.

Don't fill the jar full of dried beans as they need room to expand. This worked for me because you don't need to remember the night before.

Enjoy the hummus.


Ps. Cant wait to see you again

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness I can get canned beans- the dry ones drive me nuts too! That is why I tend to stick to baking. I am happy that you internet ladies were able to help out.
Love Mom

Second Star said...

I hated them too. But getting a pressure cooker made it so I don't have to plan in advance, and can make the amount I want.