Of Chopping Zucchini and Cooking Beans

It’s the spring equinox today, and I’m still battling this cold/flu bug. Right now I’m coughing a lot, and it’s not really productive. So it’s a very annoying cough. It makes it really tough to work on food preparation, or anything else for that matter. So I’m delegating most of the work to my junior cooks, the Katydid and MamaOzzy.

I have MamaOzzy cooking beans and chicken breast for our crockpot minestrone, and the Katydid has been chopping zucchini, mincing garlic, and will soon be tasked with preparing fresh spinach for the soup as well. We’ll have lots of spinach stems to put in our soup bag, for the next time we make broth.

Cooking and Freezing Dried Beans

Using canned beans may be convenient, but it’s more expensive than cooking from dried. There is also the matter of added sodium in the canned beans, and the larger amount of space required to store them. When beans are shipped at long distances, the canned ones weigh more and take up more space, so more fuel is used in their transport. All very good reasons to become familiar with cooking dried beans!

If your recipe calls for a 15-ounce can of beans, you can use about 1/2 cup of dried beans instead. In the case of most beans, they absorb enough water during cooking to triple their volume. So one cup dried will yield about 3 cups once cooked. A 15-oz can holds about 1-1/2 cups of beans.

If you’re planning to freeze beans so you can add them to soups, stews or chili, the good people of The Kitchn recommend cooking your beans on the lowest possible heat. So try to soak overnight, and allow for a long cook time on the day you are going to prepare them for freezing. We rushed ours way too much today, and they split. They’ll still taste good, but they aren’t going to look pretty in the soup. Rinse the beans in cool water and package in small batches for freezing.

We got a late start, but the soup is almost ready now. So I’m going to get this posted and get ready to eat! What are you eating tonight?

 

Header Image Credit: Zucchini by Evan-Amos, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; public domain

Featured Image Credit: Beans by Jan Nijman, courtesy of Pixabay; CC0

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5 thoughts on “Of Chopping Zucchini and Cooking Beans”

  1. I’ve used my frozen beans, so it’s time to make more. Thanks for spelling out those measurements. They pretty well confirm my estimate.

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    1. LOL, I put that in as much for my own use as anything! I always forget when I’m converting recipes, and find myself having to look it up again…

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    1. I love to hear about young people – especially young men – learning to cook. It’s such an important life skill and a source of pleasure too. My three girls all help with the cooking, and we are also slowly teaching their (autistic) brother to prepare his own food too.

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