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Home Ec Project: Preserving Beans

Preserving beans can be a great first food preservation activity. Many beans can be allowed to dry in their pods and then stored properly. Beans can also be frozen and canned. Always remember to follow safe food handling practices, both in the preservation process and in serving your harvest.

Indian Bean Bread

4 c. cornmeal
2 c. cooked, colored beans
t. soda
2 c. boiling water

Put cornmeal into bowl, mix in beans that have been drained. Hollow out in meal a place to put soda and water. Make a dough stiff enough to form balls. Drop ball into a pot of boiling water. Cook about 45 minutes or until done. Serve with cooked greens and pork.

Black Bean Dip

2 c. canned black beans
2 T. dark rum or dry sherry
1 sm. yellow onion
1 t. salt
1 large clove garlic
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 t. hot sauce
2 T. sour cream

Drain beans, reserving cup liquid. Peel and mince onion. Peel and crush garlic. Puree all ingredients except sour cream by buzzing 20 - 30 seconds in an electric blender at high speed. Transfer to a small serving bowl, cover, and chill two to three hours. Let dip stand at room temperature about 30 minutes before serving. Top with sour cream.

Green Bean Bake with Onions

2 (16 oz.) cans French-style green beans, drained
1 (10 oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 T. chopped pimiento
of a 3 oz. can French-fried onions
1 t. lemon juice

Combine beans, mushroom soup, pimiento, and lemon juice. Turn mixture into a one quart casserole. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 F oven for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with french-fried onions. Continue baking, uncovered, about five minutes more or till onions are heated through. Makes 6 servings.

Baked Bean Quintet

6 slices bacon
1 c. chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (18 oz.) jar baked beans
1 (16 oz.) can kidney beans
1 (16 oz.) can butter beans, drained
1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans
c. catsup
c. packed brown sugar
t. dry mustard
t. pepper

In 12" skillet cook bacon till crisp; drain, reserving two tablespoons drippings. Crumble bacon and set aside. In same skillet cook onion and garlic in reserved drippings till onion is tender but not brown. Stir in crumbled bacon, baked beans in sauce, drained butter beans, drained kidney beans, drained garbanzo beans, catsup, brown sugar, dry mustard, and pepper. Turn into a two quart casserole. Bake, covered in a 375 F oven one to 1 hours or till heated through. Makes 12 to 24 servings.

Bean, Green Dried

Choose any variety with crisp thick walls and small seeds. Wash; snap off ends; cut diagonally into 1" pieces, or French cut to expose more surface area. Steam blanch four to six minutes. Freeze beans 30 minutes to tenderize beofre drying at 125F until brittle. Rehydrate and use in casseroles, soups or stews.

Pickled Three-Bean Salad

1 1/2 pounds green beans
1 1/2 pounds wax beans
1 pound lima beans
2 cups sliced celery (about 3 stalks)
1 (8-ounce) onion, sliced
1 cup diced sweet red pepper (about 1 medium)
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups vinegar, 5% acidity
1 1/4 cups water
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon celery seed
4 teaspoons salt

Prepare home canning jars and lids according to manufacturer's instructions. Wash beans. Trim ends from green and wax beans and cut into 1 inch pieces. Shell lima beans. Combine beans, celery, pepper, and onion in large saucepot. Cover with boiling water, cook 7 to 8 minutes. Drain. Bring sugar, mustard seed, salt, celery seed, vinegar and water to a boil. Simmer 15 minutes. Add drained beans mixture. Heat to a boil. Pack hot bean mixture into a hot jar, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a nonmetallic spatula. Place lid on jar. Screw band down evenly and firmly. Process 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Yield, about 5 pints.

Pennsylvania Dutch baked beans:

Soak four quarts of small red beans overnight in fresh water. drain, and put in a large roasting pan. Add several small cans of tomato paste (I use homemade, about 1 1/2 cups). Add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar. Add 2 cups of brown sugar. Add 3/4 cup of blackstrap molasses. Add 1 tsp. Ground cloves. Blend a couple of cloves of garlic and 1 large onion and add (use just enough water to blend), or add 1 Tblsp. powered onion and 1 tsp powered garlic (do not use garlic salt). Add sufficient water to mix and have a little sauce. Bake covered at 350 deg. F oven until all flavors are well blended, about 2 hours. Beans should be tender. If it gets too dry it will burn, add a little water if necessary. When done, put in hot sterilized canning jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Variations: add powdered mustard at 1 tsp per quart of beans, or substitute catsup for tomato paste, or increase amount of ground cloves, or add well done pork or beef shreds, or etc.

Freezing Green Beans

Snip ends, cut in 2-inch pieces, blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove from boiling water and chill in a large quanitity of ice water for at least 3 minutes. Drain well, spread a layer on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid (set a timer for an hour or two). Remove from sheet into a heavy plastic bag for longer term freezer storage. Cook desired quantity at mealtime. It's a nice way to do them.

Harvesting Dry Beans

Dry beans, such as kidney beans, navy pea beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), black-eye peas etc., should be harvested when pods are dry, brittle and brown and the beans are hard and have their characteristic coloration. An easy way to tell when beans are mature enough to be picked is to wait until the pods start to shatter or split open. If pods are leathery, the beans are not ready to harvest.

Storing Dry Beans

Dry beans should be kept in airtight containers (to prevent insect infestation) and stored in a dry, cool place (50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit). Stored in this manner, they will keep their quality for several months. Dried beans and peas do not need to be refrigerated.

Drying Beans on the Vine

To vine dry beans (navy, kidney, butter, great northern, lima, lentils and soybeans) leave bean pods on the vine until the beans inside rattle. When the vines and pods are dry and shriveled, pick the beans and shell them. No pretreatment is necessary. If beans are still moist, the drying process is not complete and the beans will mold if not more thoroughly dried. If needed, drying can be completed in the sun, oven or a dehydrator. Pasteurization is needed for those beans dried entirely in the sun.

Runner Bean Chutney

2 lb. (900g) runner beans. sliced 2 lb. (900g) demerera sugar
one and a half pints vinegar
1.5lbs. (675g) onions, peeled and chopped
one and a half tbsps. Cornflour
half a tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Turmeric
1 tsp. dry mustard

Cook the beans in salted water till just soft Cook the onions in half a pint of vinegar until just soft Place the beans, onions and sugar in a pan together with the remaining vinegar and boil for 15 minutes. Mix the mustard, turmeric, salt and cornflour with a small amount of cold water and add to the pan. Bring to the boil and cook for a further 15 minutes. Allow to cool before bottling.


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