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Beans, Part 2

June 1, 2011

Food Storage, Nutrition

In a previous post, I introduced the topic of beans and how they should be a part of your long-term storage.  I want to give you some more compelling reasons to stock up on this essential item.

They’re GRRReat!

There are so many kinds of beans and each has something worthwhile to offer.  Let’s take a look at one of my all-time favorites-  Great Northern beans.

In one cup of these white beans, you get 14% of your calcium, 23% of your daily iron, and a whopping 53% of your daily folate (a vitamin critical in early pregnancy).  You get 13 g (51% RDA) of dietary fiber and 19g (39% RDA) of protein.   Not too shabby.

Very Versatile

Great Northern beans are slightly larger than Navy beans and have a very mild flavor.  For that reason, they are extremely versatile.  Slow-cooked in stews, they soak up all the flavors of the meats and spices.  As a protein substitute in casseroles, they provide a substantial background for creamy or cheesy yumminess.  Well-cooked and mashed, they can be sneaked undetected into spaghetti sauce for those who claim not to like them.  (Actually, hiding unknown veggies in sauces is one of my favorite tricks!).

Great Northern beans can be substituted for many other kinds of beans (like cannellini, navy, or even kidney beans) in many recipes.  They are usually quite easy to find in grocery stores, often times in economical 2 lb bags.  We sometimes eat them salted as a side item, but in my mind, they really stand out when combined with ham in the slow-cooker.

Give this recipe a try.  Start it in the morning before you leave for work and thank yourself when you get home!

CrockPot Ham and Beans

  • 1 pound dried great Northern beans,soaked overnight
  • 1/2 pound cooked ham, chopped
  • ¼- ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • Sea salt

Rinse the beans.  Put everything in the crockpot with enough water to cover it all.  Cook on low for approximately 12 hours.

Add some fresh bread and a salad, and it’s even better!

A Suggestion for Your Home Library

You may want to start collecting some cookbooks that will give you a variety of uses for beans.  One of my favorites is Country Beans by Rita Bingham.  That creative lady has thought of ways to use (ground dried) beans as flour in muffins and cookies, sprouted in salads, mashed into dips, made into bean burgers, and of course in stews and chilis.  A bag of beans is suddenly a whole lot more than just a bowl of soup!

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