- As we go along each post will present a single concept or idea. But we do request you read these posts, and comment or ask questions! No one knows everything. In fact few people really know anything useful other than the answers to your questions. So ask !
- Always soak your beans in water or perhaps another liquid. Sometimes for days. Dumping out the water and adding clean, cold water.
- Remember you can always rinse your soaked beans with clean water and refrigerate, or even freeze them. For days at a time. Life happens, you know?
- Again, change liquid frequently with fresh, typically colder liquid to avoid spoilage and souring. Don’ tlet critters get into them!
- Beans are absolutely amazing sources of protein, fiber, minerals and pre- and probiotic substances.
- Just like you wouldn’t eat a cow or a dog or a frog without doing something to it to make it edible and palatable, you must treat beans the same way.
- No properly treated or fermented bean, especially soy, has ever created disease or created a hormonal imbalance although it is possible you might have a soybean allergy. That’s completely different from being unable to digest badly treated beans of any kind. No one can.
- Scientists have been studying beans for thousands of years. Unless you are a food microbiologist, it’s extremely unlikely you know anything about what they know. It will blow you away. We will show you!
- We are going to offer recipes using new knowledge. Easy recipes that are tasty and nutritious. You don’t need to be a scientist. You don’t need to make ten gallons of miso or soy sauce at a time!
- If you are cooking you have to get some type of scale that measures weight, preferably in grams. We will explain why.
- If you don’t like the taste of something don’t eat it!
- Always remember, though, some people have no choice but to eaat what is local or available to them.
- Ask questions! Be patient for a response, even if you are making donations to support our work. We’ll get to you.
Beans. Seriously. It is virtually impossibly to actually catalog all the different varieties of members of the bean family – Fabaceae – but recently there has been a resurgence in interest in them as a source of sustainable protein and calories.
With the cyclical, seemingly every hundred years craze in all things fermented and preserved, coupled with the never ending search for cultural, ethnic or racial association, beans have been exposed as the constant.
As has the need fort every generation to claim something that was created by their predecessors as their own, typically, nowadays, out of laziness, lack of research, and new packaging and marketing motives.
Although many group of people may be more associated with a specific grain like rice or corn or wheat, they all have their bean compadres. It’s a brilliant and beautiful thing. There are thousands and thousabds of years of documented traditiona and science, now, attached to all of this.
Recent scientific and technological advances have helped it along, with both many of the tools and all of the science readily available to cooks, chefs and adventurous artisans. Our goal is to just give basic recipes and techniques. When given the opportunity a self respecting chef, cook, tradesman and most definitely scientist gives credit to many other people than themselves.
At a time when the very act of writing anything basically meant making paper and using ink and some instrument to write down every word – in this case kanji – by hand was an amazing feat in and of itself. We should pause for a moment and give thanks to our elders and those who came before us several thousands of years ago.
Thousands of years before the creation of miso soup, a very traditional and common Japanese dish made with a bean paste that is eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner by millions of people daily, the Chinese had figured out that when hard times hit or you had too feed a very large number of people, beans performed ideally.
In fact, the whole concept of alchemy derived from the Chinese concept of treating beans as a form of medicine that could perform amazing things – especially helping people to survive.
The most amazing medical applications of beans, and cooking and farming texts of thousands of years ago still exist. We’re going to go through them all, with an eye towards why you should take notice.
We will include pictures and recipes for things you could make, or at least use as the starting point for your open special cuisine. On a small scale, though, let’s say for a group or family of four.
There are thousands of references and even textbooks on how industrialized products such as koji or tempeh or jiangs or soy sauce or miso are made.
We highly recommend going to www.soyinfocenter.com if you intend to be one of those producers. But even the small guys willing to read will greatly benefit from anything listed, or described by Shurtleff and Akiko. No reading, no gain.
The last time I saw my friend Ken Albala I had him sign my Beans book. The book is a treasure. It goes through volumes and volumes of literature and research and turns it into a fun to read book. You can still buy it online and in bookstores. It’s still worth reading not just because it’s an excellent foldaways book, but a kind of an abstract of other books.
We’ll get into all those as well, but in digestible pieces that don’t leave you yearning for machines you will most likely never have access to. We’ll tell you how to make things just as good without them.
Today is Indigenous People’s Day in the Americas, and the indigenous people of the Southeastern part of the US or what was really a huge land mass called the Americas taken care of by tribal governments and societies, the beans they cultivated and pass along should be the focus of today’s celebrations.
Rereading some passages today about Christopher Columbus and what exactly he brought to the Americas and why he set out in the first place is a sobering experience.
“Your Highnesses, as Catholic Christians, and princes who love and promote the holy Christian faith, and are enemies of the doctrine of Mahomet, and of all idolatry and heresy, determined to send me, Christopher Columbus, to the above-mentioned countries of India, to see the said princes, people, and territories, and to learn their disposition and the proper method of converting them to our holy faith; and furthermore directed that I should not proceed by land to the East, as is customary, but by a Westerly route, in which direction we have hitherto no certain evidence that any one has gone.
So after having expelled the Jews from your dominions, your Highnesses, in the same month of January, ordered me to proceed with a sufficient armament to the said regions of India, and for that purpose granted me great favors, and ennobled me that thenceforth I might call myself Don, and be High Admiral of the Sea, and perpetual Viceroy and Governor in all the islands and continents which I might discover and acquire, or which may hereafter he discovered and acquired in the ocean; and that this dignity should be inherited by my eldest son, and thus descend from degree to degree forever. ” The Diaries of Christopher Columbus
Ken’s book touches on so many of the really important issues that the history of beans includes, including this absolutely brilliant summary about why al the resistance to soybeans people express might be nonsense. That is not to say, however, that some people don’t actually have soybean allergies. Proteins can have that effect.
But properly soaking and fermenting soybeans – the next post is all about making soy and other bean kojis – can quite dramatically reduce or eliminate those concerns.
Ken Albala gets into it in a precise one paragraph description in his book:
“The importance of fermenting soybeans was not only a matter of preservation. Although they could not have known this, fermentation counteracts the anti-nutritionalfactors present in soy. Soybeans contain what are called trypsin inhibitors, which prevent the pancreas from producing a digestive enzymes important in breaking down protein.
Raw or improperly cooked soybeans can also cause an enlarged pancrease; they inhibit growth and lead to cancerous tumors. Phytic acid present in soybeans also hinders the absorption of iron and zinc, which are necessary for the proper function of the nervous system
The phytates essentially fuse with the metal ions, including calcium, forming compounds that pass directly through the digestive tract unchanged. Fermentation destroys these toxins and the enzymes involved in the process also break down soy making it more digestible, and in a sense pre-cooking them so they require less fuel.
In other words, fermenting soybeans not only made them more interesting and tasty, but also provided a range of more nutritious foods that could support a large population.”
The book, Beans, also treats a few other subjects really well. Including how Italians in different parts of Italy made their famous and fabulous fagioli – with recipe – and not only the story of Tepiary Beans, but of the indigenous people’s whose day we celebrate.
You could even buy it on Kindle right now here. Although unless you are using canned beans – even soybeans- soaking them must be done properly!
About Ken Albala and Beans
From the description at Amazon: “Winner of The 2008 Jane Grigson Award, issued by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). Winner of the 2008 Cordon d’ Or Culinary Literature – History Culinary Academy Award. This is the story of the bean, the staple food cultivated by humans for over 10,000 years. From the lentil to the soybean, every civilization on the planet has cultivated its own species of bean. The humble bean has always attracted attention – from Pythagoras’ notion that the bean hosted a human soul to St. Jerome’s indictment against bean-eating in convents (because they “tickle the genitals”), to current research into the deadly toxins contained in the most commonly eaten beans. Over time, the bean has been both scorned as “poor man’s meat” and praised as health-giving, even patriotic. Attitudes to this most basic of foodstuffs have always revealed a great deal about a society. Beans: A History takes the reader on a fascinating journey across cuisines and cultures.”