Can you cook with what you have stored?

Discussion in 'General Food and Foraging Discussion' started by BadgeBunny, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. BadgeBunny

    BadgeBunny Well-Known Member

    I know it sounds like a dumb question but I was putting away from our trip to Sam's yesterday and found some beans I bought way back when (when I first started doing this a couple of years ago) that I have no idea how to cook or how they taste when they are cooked ... :confused: specifically split peas and lentils. Thank goodness they are little packages ... :eek:

    Believe it or not I have never cooked or eaten either one of these. But that is about to change! :D

    AND ...

    do you know exact measurements per person (just in case you have to cook and have no way to store leftovers). I grew up in a very large family ... now there are just two of us ... I have to pay real close attention to what I am doing or next thing you know I have enough beans and rice in the pot to feed Cox's Army when I really only need 1 cup of dried beans and another cup of rice (along with some onions, spices, etc) to make a good meal for the two of us.

    I know there are plenty here who have been doing this for long enough that it is second nature to them. So ... you folks who are old hands at this ... share some of your mistakes when you were first strarting out ...

    OH and post up those lentil and green pea recipes ... LOL ;)
  2. BizzyB

    BizzyB BucketHunter

    Wow - great topic. My thoughts:

    1. Determine what you really, really like. Go to the grocery store and peruse the 'side dish' offerings -- you know, the spiffy mixes of rice, beans, grain combos, couscous, and seasonings. I love pilafs, personally. Look at the ingredients, look at the serving sizes. Is a package of sufficient size to serve as the foundation of a meal if you add a protein and/or vegetables? Could you stretch a recipe by adding some beans to it? Could be, give it a try. Experiment. Take notes on what works as a serving size for you and yours. This is a low-risk approach because you aren't buying bulk quantities of something you might not like.

    2. For beans-n-rice dishes, there is usually more rice than beans. Beans swell up a lot, so 0.25 - 0.33 c (measured dry, before soaking) beans per person might be more than enough to stretch the rice into an incredibly filling meal. There are so many cuisines that do beans and rice that you're sure to find a flavor profile you like: Latin/Cuban, Mexican, Cajun, Indian...

    3. Every bean is different. Try lots of them. But get some Bean-o first. Introducing high-fiber foods into a previously low-fiber life can cause distress until you become accustomed to it. Bean-o is reasonably shelf stable and is a big part of my preps. So is salt. Most people who buy canned beans or prepared mixes with beans have NO appreciation whatsoever how much salt is in there. Stock lots and lots of salt. If a bean dish isn't tasting quite right, add some salt.

    4. Vegetarian and vegan cookbooks tend to cover bean dishes quite well because they're a great source of protein. They do some pretty creative things with beans - like those hamburger-like patties. Full of salt so they're very tasty.

    5. I bought some black lentils a few weeks back and made my first Indian dish: Dal Makhani. (having first been inspired by a microwavable pouch of bliss by TastyBites called "Madras Lentils). This stuff makes me want to weep with joy it is so delicious. It works as a bowl of hearty soup, as a dip for chips, or as a sauce for rice. There would be peace on earth if everyone would just have a bowl full of Dal Makhani.

    And now I'm hungry. :D

  3. vn6869

    vn6869 Afraid, very afraid

    Agreed, have gotten to the stage of looking over what I have been storing, and thinking, wow, I will need some spices, salt, whatever to fix this.

    Nice to see it brought out. Good thread. :2thumb:
  4. efbjr

    efbjr Well-Known Member

    No gas...

    I found this solution to the gas problem which eliminates the need for Bean-o. The website has a lot of good info regarding nutrition.

    De-gassing Beans, from Diana Mirkin's healthful recipes (mostly vegetarian), based on Dr. Gabe Mirkin's healthy lifestyle guidelines.

    "If you're bothered by gas when you eat beans, try this simple cure for your problem. Put the beans in a large pot and cover them with water. Bring them to a boil and take them off the heat. This breaks the capsules surrounding the beans and allows stachyose, verbascose and raffinose, the gas-causing sugars, to escape into the water. Stir a teaspoon or so of baking soda into the water (to make it more alkaline) and let the beans soak overnight. Drain the soaking water off the beans and rinse them several times. (If you eat the soaking liquid, you will cause unbelievable discomfort for yourself and those around you). Then proceed with your recipe to cook the beans."

    Stand back when you add the baking soda to the hot water! There is quite a reaction!:flower:
  5. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

    I guess I'm just socially acclimated to farts... :dunno:
  6. Clarice

    Clarice Well-Known Member

    I store a lot of salt & spices, they are just as important as any other foods you store. Plain rice is great when you add a few dried herbs. The thing to remember is store what you & your family will eat. No need to store a ton of oatmeal if the family refuses to eat oatmeal. We like oatmeal but would not want to eat it everyday. Variety is very important in your food stores. Life will be difficult enough when the balloon goes up with out having to live off a food you don't like.
  7. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    I am gonna second the "buy and learn to use*" all kinds of herbs and spices and for salt- I have been squirreling away canning salt and sea salt every chance I can so that if I need to I will be able to salt cure not only veggies but meats and fish. Hopefully enuf for many years, or at least until they remember that Detroit was a huge salt producing town and becomes one again... Salt will once again become more useful than gold after TSHF.

    *I also buy herbs and spices whole and in bulk as much as possible and vac-pack it into my big mason jars. And when I mean whole spices I refer to cinnamon-I buy sticks and I have a fine grater that I use to grate it.
    Nutmegs- I buy them whole and use the same grater.
    all spice- I just put them thru my grain grinder or coffee mill when I need them
    Black peppercorns(and mixed colors), I have several peppermills.
    Whole cloves-those can go in the grinder or coffee mill
    I have found that even the older spices that are whole will grind up and be more powerful/flavorful than new powdered spices that I have just opened.(I do a bit of experimenting with storage stuff and flavor)
    I also grow many different herbs every year and have learned to harvest the seeds for them so that as long as I am careful I don't have to buy to much.

    I have also learned to use different dried beans and lentils and chickpeas..
    I know that some people think that all dried beans are the same and I have found that they are not. Some are creamy and some are firm. And they do have different flavors.... Think that is bad, I grow some of my own dried beans and you can't beat them for flavor and quicker cooking.
    The only thing I haven't tried to grow yet is split peas.. seems like it is easier (at the moment ) to buy.
  8. JayJay

    JayJay Well-Known Member

    This is a relevant post---I've been cooking for 40 years and never had black beans...dh brought me a case and the corn, black beans, tomatoes, chicken, and broth..was great.
    I changed the chicken and broth to ground beef and broth and it is still great.

    Those not liking powdered milk, use it now and get use to it---it may be all we have for a few months.

    Same for powdered potatoes.:dunno:
  9. BizzyB

    BizzyB BucketHunter

    Re not liking powdered milk -- most powdered milk is fat free, but there are whole milks, such as Nestle's Nido milk, on the market that taste much more like actual milk. But they're expensive. A good compromise is to blend the two -- makes the fat free taste better and makes the full fat last longer. I recently found Nido at Walmart in the ethnic foods section. Saves me on shipping as I ordinarily mail order it.
  10. BizzyB

    BizzyB BucketHunter

  11. dunappy

    dunappy Well-Known Member

    Split pea soup is one of my favorites.
    Slice up a medium to large onion in fairly thick slices.
    one left over ham bone with some good chunks of ham left one it
    one 1 lb bag of split peas.
    Throw ALL in the crock pot and cover with water then add an extra bit.
    Cook until the peas are tender make sure to monitor the water in case you didn't add enough ( usually 3-6 hour depending on if you put it on high or low)
    season to taste with salt and pepper
    Serve and enjoy.

  12. SaskDame

    SaskDame Well-Known Member

    Looked up the Dal Makhani link and tried it with the navy beans DH cooked up today.
    Wonderful recipe. It will likely become a family favorite and can be made with storage foods.
  13. goshengirl

    goshengirl Supporting Member

    Not a dumb question at all. An important one!

    I've been thinking a lot about this - one reason being that I've never cooked beans, and really don't know much about them. So that's something on the 'to-do' list. Thanks for the recipe! In 5th grade I remember having a teacher's aid bring in lentil soup for everyone to try. I was a VERY picky eater, but I tried it and loved it. Boy, would I love to have that recipe now! So, does anyone know a good recipe for lentil soup?

    I also want to know how to do more with oatmeal and wheat berries (not ground).
  14. tsrwivey

    tsrwivey Supporting Member

    We store what we eat but there's now way I could get my family to eat only the foods we have stored the way we normally fix them. We have ground our own instant refried beans (yummy), learned to make non-instant rice, cook with dried beans, & we most recently found a use for that dried milk (pudding). We still need to devote some serious attention to trying more storage food recipes, though.
  15. tsrwivey

    tsrwivey Supporting Member

    White chili

    White Chili
    2-cans chicken (12oz each)
    4- cans white beans (15 oz. northern, butter, navy, lima) or 1/2 cup each dried
    2- cans green chile enchilada sauce (15oz)
    1 -can corn or hominy (15oz)
    1 TBSP garlic powder
    4 TBSP dried onion
    1 TSP turmeric
    1 TSP cumin
    Simmer on low an hour or put in the crock pot. This recipe is a huge hit with the herd of teens at my house. I love that I can use canned beans for a quick, low cooking fuel usage meal or dried beans.
  16. carolexan

    carolexan Junior Member

    The recipe Dunappy posted for split pea soup is similar to the one I grew up with. I use lentils in stews, soups and cold salads. Coming from a very large family we ate every bean or pea out there LOL!

    I have a printed, bined cookbook for everything I store in preps. That way those that come after me can have the know how too. I'm a big pasta and salad fan.

    1 pound lentils
    5 cups water or broth
    2 teaspoons salt
    4 tablespoons olive oil
    1 large onion, finely chopped
    1 to 2 ribs celery, finely diced
    1/2 cup chopped green pepper
    1/2 cup olive oil
    2 tablespoons wine vinegar
    2/3 teaspoons black pepper
    1 teaspoon salt

    Boil 1 pound lentils in 5 cups water or broth with 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered tightly for 28 minutes. The lentils should be tender, but still firm. Drained, toss with 4 tablespoons olive oil, cool. Add 1 large chopped onion, 1 to 2 ribs of celery, 1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper or pimiento. Make a vinaigrette with 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons wine vinegar, 2/3 teaspoons pepper or, 1 teaspoon salt. Pour over and toss well. (I keep the veggies in this salad dehydrated in my preps)

    Chill before serving.
  17. BadgeBunny

    BadgeBunny Well-Known Member

    Nothing like starting a thread, asking a question and then forgetting you started it, huh?? :rolleyes:

    Thanks for the recipes and ideas ya'll ... Tomorrow night (poor hubby) is THE night ... I'm gonna try the Dal Makhani. My mouth waters just reading the recipe! :beercheer:

    I have been told by a friend on another board that his kids wouldn't drink instant milk for nothing until he started aerating it. He mixes it up, lets it sit for a few minutes, mixes it again and then puts it in a quart jar and shakes the dickens outta it. Puts the jar in the freezer just until ice crystals start forming (20 minutes or so), takes it out, shakes the dickens outta it again and then puts it in the fridge.

    I dunno ... I'm skeptical but I'll try anything once. (And probably just do what I am doing now -- buy milk but use the powdered stuff for cooking.) I am completely amazed that my pickier than your average bear hubby drinks the stuff like there is no tomorrow. GAG!! :nuts:
  18. gam46

    gam46 Well-Known Member

    Seems to me that as dry beans age, they get drier and harder to cook to an acceptable level of tenderness. My solution is to pressure can them, just enough to keep a few jars on the shelf for a while. Even the older ones seem to respond well to this treatment and they're so much easier to use when already cooked.
  19. JayJay

    JayJay Well-Known Member

    I have beans in a 5 gallon bucket. Have had them 5 years now. I soak in 2 huge tablespoons of baking soda overnight and they cook in an hour.

    Badge Bunny--I just mixed instant milk. Add 1 TB sugar and a dab (not much) of vanilla to every quart.
    Warm water to mix thoroughly first, and then chill. The next day, no one will know it is instant.

    Careful with the vanilla.
  20. OldCootHillbilly

    OldCootHillbilly Reverend Coot

    Store what you eat, eat what you store.

    You should be cookin usin what ya got stored so ya be used ta it. Ain't sayin ever meal, but once a week er so. I pop open some a my dried veggies an rehydrate em an use em in meals frequently. Same with dried taters and such.

    Stored food recipes er great ta have. I look round an find them all over the interweb. I try em out, ifin I like em I make a copy that gets laminated an put in a notebook kept with the stored foods.

    Yes beans will get harder ta cook over time. Just bein a bean. You might have ta soak em longer an cook em longer. But they will last decades an still be good.

    Nother thin, by usin yer storage foods from time ta time yer family gets used ta them foods so ifin the time comes ya gotta depend on what ya got it won't be total culture (er stomach) shock. Plus, it lets ya judge how much a what ya need ta cook up fer the size a family ya got an how long it takes ya ta make stuff.