FYI Friday – Beans, Beans, The Musical Fruit…

Pulses, Legumes, Beans, whatever you want to call them….I love em!

ellen

 

Growing up I had never heard of the term pulses or legumes. I didn’t even know a bean existed outside of canned pork & beans. Which, in our household was often paired with hot dogs for the infamous wieners & beans supper. One of my favourites growing up and something I haven’t had in ages.

I don’t think I learned about legumes until I was in university. I was sitting in some nutrition class where they started talking about the great health benefits of legumes (high in fibre & protein, low in fat) and I just sat there thinking, I have no idea what they are talking about but if I ask the person beside me I will look like a moron. I just couldn’t wait to get home and google legumes. (Yes I was in University pre-iPhone days so I couldn’t google it right away). 

cellphone

 

If you are like me and have no idea what legumes are, you have probably already opened a second tab and googled it. But in case you haven’t, legumes are plants whose fruits are enclosed in a pod and includes beans, lentils, peas, soybeans & peanuts. Pulses is a subcategory of legumes that refers to the dried seed. It includes dried peas, beans, lentils & chickpeas.

legumes

Image Source

Once I figured out what pulses were, I realized there was a whole world of culinary delights I had been missing! I started with adding lentils to my spaghetti sauce and I never looked back. Now pulses are a regular part of my diet. I love experimenting with different meatless recipes and so many of them are both mine & Tom’s favourite meals. 

I first started off using canned beans but then one day in the grocery store, I noticed these bags of dried beans. Intrigued, I bought a bag having no idea what I was going to do with them. This is where Pulse Canada really saved the day for me. They have amazing resources available including in-depth explanations about pulses, how to cook pulses, recipes, etc.  

For convenience sake I often still buy canned beans and rinse them well to remove salt. However, I prefer to make my own beans so that I know they are salt free. So let’s talk about dried beans and how to cook them.

All whole dried beans or chickpeas require a period of soaking before cooking in order to soften their shell. Lentils and split peas however, do not require any pre-soaking. See chart below for 3 different soaking methods.

Method Instructions
Long, cold soak or overnight
  • Let stand 12 hours or overnight in refrigerator
Quick soak
  • Bring pulses and water to boil in saucepan
  • Boil Gently for 2 minutes
  • Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour
Microwave soak
  • Combine pulses and water in microwavable dish
  • Cover and microwave on high for 10-15 minutes
  • Let stand for 1 hour

Generally, I do the long overnight soak. I find this easiest as you can just fill up some bowls and leave it. The great thing is you can’t oversoak them. So don’t worry if you leave them for 14 hours, it really doesn’t matter. When I pre soak my beans I put them into large bowls and cover the with at least 2 inches of water. The beans will swell as they soak so you want to ensure they have enough water.

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Once the pre-soaking is complete, rinse the beans thoroughly before you cook them. This will help with decreasing flatulence.

beans

To cook your pulses, put them in a large saucepan again with ample amounts of water. Add about 1 tsp oil to prevent foaming. Once water comes to a boil, reduce heat, cover with a lid and simmer. You do not want to boil at high temperature, as this will cause the seed coats to crack. Follow cooking guidelines in table below for approximate cooking times.

Pulse

Soaking Requirement

Cooking Time
Beans

Yes

45 – 60 minutes
Peas
Whole

Yes

40 – 45 minutes
Split

No

1 – 1 ½ hours
Lentils
Whole Green

No

30 – 45 minutes
Split Red

No

10 – 15 minutes
Chickpeas

Yes

1 – 1 ½ hours

Once the pulses are cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool in cooking water.

Because cooking pulses from a dry state takes quite some time I prefer to cook in large batches and freeze them so they are available on hand when I need them. Once cooled, I measure 1-2 cup portions into freezer ziploc bags. I then label them with type of bean, portion size and date. Frozen pulses will keep for approximately 6 months. Adding some of the cooking liquid into the bag will help prevent freezer burn.
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Here are some of the recipes I’ve shared that contain pulses. Enjoy!
Do you love pulses? Have you ever cooked beans/peas/lentils from dried state?
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2 thoughts on “FYI Friday – Beans, Beans, The Musical Fruit…

  1. I LOVE beans (black beans and chickpeas are two of my favourites) but I rarely eat lentils. I’m thinking I need to find some ways to include those in my diet since they’re pretty easy to cook and prepare. 🙂

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