Musings on beans

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Been thinking lately about beans. Not sure why. Does stuff like that happen to you too? One random thing showing up over and over again until you pay attention. 


Bean Thing One

First it was the giant glass jar of dried red beans I unearthed while cleaning out the pantry. 

They had been saved from the garden, at least 8 seasons ago, possibly longer. 😂  Of course, I hadn’t labelled them, but memory suggests that they were “true red cranberry beans”. And if you are a reader of seed catalogs, you will know that much is made of the distinction between “vermont cranberry beans”, "cranberry beans" and “true red cranberry beans”. 

Regardless, they were a good sized, dark red bean. They were still handsome, and for one second I considered cooking or planting them before wisdom prevailed and I deposited them in the compost bucket. 


Bean Thing Two

Beans have crossed my path, or plate, in other instances also. We’ve cooked up both black beans and chick peas in the past few weeks.  The instant pot works well for these dried beans.

Although sometimes I miss the hours-long bubbling and bean-y steam of a pot of beans on the stove, the instant pot doesn’t require as much oversight.  One small bag of beans (1 lb) provides enough protein for 3 meals for us--satisfying meals like beans and rice, chickpea stew, and chili.  I feel thankful for this inexpensive, reliable protein.


Bean Thing Three

Beans are the only significant protein that can be grown quickly in this climate. There are delicious nut trees and shrubs, but they take years, if not decades, to come into production.

Beans take 1 summer season and grow easily throughout much of the US. 

However, a lot of those acres are dowsed in glyphosate (roundup) to kill weeds.  The result: glyphosates are turning up in a lot of beans and bean foods (like hummus) available in your local grocery. 

Roundup anyone?


I haven’t cooked a lot with fresh, dried beans.  "Fresh dried" sounds like an oxymoron, but dried beans may be young, only several months off the vine, or old, several years since harvest.  I hear that young dried beans cook more quickly and are more flavorful, but it’s impossible to tell how old dried beans are when you buy them.

The next few months are garden planning season and all this thinking about beans is bound to have repercussions for next summer.  Now to decide: cranberry, true cranberry, or both!

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