Zero-Waste Black Beans
No need to ban the bean! A lot of you might have your eyes wide open thinking ‘I will clear a room if I eat black beans!’. Well maybe you just need to stop eating canned beans, not only for your health but for the environment as well.
Let's start with health. Beans are an excellent source of fiber, protein and folate. Which makes it an excellent food for blood sugar and weight management. It’s also a very inexpensive protein! 1 cup of cooked beans has 15 grams of protein. AND they can be very digestible if you cook them a certain way.
The problem with beans is the phytic acid, which is an antinutrient that interferes with the absorption of minerals and gives you the gas! BUT you can lower the amount of phytic acid by soaking your beans and cooking them with Kombu. I know what you're thinking, soaking and cooking them takes more time! It’s all in routine, preparation and planning.
Speaking of planning, it is critical for a zero-waste kitchen as well as having a nutritious lifestyle to plan! Planning will also save you a lot of time and money! You just need a strategy.
Back to health, A HUGE reason not to get canned beans is that most canned beans are still not BPA free. BPA is bad news! High levels can lead to cancer, infertility, erectile disfunction and early puberty. AND THE WASTE! Canned food impacts water and air pollution as well as solid pollution. When I talk about zero waste, I don’t mean recycle more I mean recycle less as well as waste less. A lot of things we are putting in the Recyling isn’t getting recycled. On top of that, sometimes it even gets shipped to other countries! seriously! …. right!?
How can we make this simple for you? I start the process in advance, sometimes even when I have no plan to eat them, because I can freeze them for when I do need them. Before bed, I usually tidy the kitchen and prepare anything that needs to be soaked. This could be something you do on grocery day or food prep day or in the evenings like I do. The longer you soak the more phytic acid is removed, I would plan to try and rinse them a couple times through this process. I usually put them in a glass jar with warm water and the next day I rinse them and put them in a bigger jar or bowl with fresh water. If you need the beans sooner, you can do this for a minimum of 12 hours. I do suggest rinsing them at least once.
Ok, now to cook them! Tip: Cook beans with a chunk of Kombu. What's Kombu? it’s a seaweed that you can get at your local health food store, I usually look for Canadian. Kombu will provide additional support benefiting the digestion of the bean. They contain enzymes that break down the sugar in beans, the gas producing felon! They also enhance the flavor, when I cook them, I also add garlic clove and bay leaf.
Beans can be added to salads, soups, burritos or made into a dip. I like to have them on hand but if I notice after a few days in the fridge I’m not using them I freeze them, so they don’t get wasted. Make sure, if you are freezing after you have cooked them to completely cool them before freezing in an airtight container. Cool them, not dry them... I’ve made that mistake! They end up looking like shriveled up rabbit turds! Ha! Who wants to eat that!? BUT if that does happen, you can easily rehydrate them in water.
Rinse dry Beans
Place the beans in a large glass jar, bowl or saucepan
Add warm water, remember beans will expand in size.
When Ready to cook the bean. Drain and proceed with your final rinse, add beans to pot and add enough water to cover.
Add your kombu and garlic, bay leaf (optional), and salt.
Cover the pot with a lid. Bring beans to a boil and simmer for at least 1 hour.
Taste one of the beans and keep cooking until nice and soft.
When the beans are done, remove the kombu and be sure to compost it (as well as garlic and bay leaf if you are using).
Drain the beans and rinse in cold water.
Cooked beans last in the fridge for 4 days and up to a year in the freezer. Remember to let the beans cool before storing in freezer.