Saturday, January 21, 2012

Don’t forget your beans!

I oftentimes remember what one of my Latin American friends said about the beans and rice so common in the Latin diet—they make the perfect protein.

As someone who isn’t a big meat-eater, I’ve long explored the use of beans in my diet for their protein. They’re also tasty. So far this year, I’ve tried making and eating white bean and rosemary spread and white bean and turkey chili. Both were successful recipes. This week, Jim made his traditional pinto beans and I prepared the cornbread we must have to accompany that. A co-worker of mine said pinto beans and cornbread is one of his favorite meals so I ladled the beans into a jar, wrapped the cornbread in foil and presented them to him the next day. He was so excited about his meal that he polished it off before noon.

So beans were on my mind when I picked up the food section of the Lexington newspaper on Thursday and found an article about beans and their nutritional value. Their nutrition goes far beyond protein. Rather than write more about that, I’ll just refer you to the article.

If the information convinces you that this is your year to begin growing beans, I want to encourage you to include them in this year’s seed order. My experience tells me they are just about problem-free to plant and grow. If they are climbers, put up your trellis, plant, weed and let them grow. Check them as they grow in case you need to guide them up the trellis. Plant them early enough and you can get two crops from your beans. Let them dry on the vine before you pick them.

It takes a while to hull the beans but once you do you can store them in glass jars on your counter. Grow black, red, white and pintos and they’ll add some color to your kitchen. You’ll be surprised at how much more you enjoy eating your home-grown beans than what you buy in the store. They tend to be fresher so they don’t take quite as long to cook and the flavor will make you smile.
Get out that recipe book or that seed catalog and make your choices.

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