On Bean Soaking

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    • #30341
      Rowan Redbranch

      Roughly 10 years ago I was homeless for a couple months.  All I had was my spouse, my car, two cats, a big bag of cat food, some tools and supplies, a great big tent, a futon mattress, some meal bars, some gatorade powder, and a LOT of rice and beans.  I did a lot of bean cooking over an open fire.

      I learned that seasonings are incredibly important.  We had a bunch of chicken bullion and used it freely.  It made a huge difference.  I also learned that protein was hard to come by and very prized.  We would buy a package of cheap hot dogs or a can of tuna and think it was the greatest thing.  Back to bean soaking though – the longer you do it, the less you have to cook the beans, and it helps to do so in a dark container that will soak up the sun and heat them up a bit.

      Things learned:  If I had to do it again I’d have just as many beans, but less rice, and if I could I’d bring along canned food.  I’d also not bother to buy pre made food, no matter how cheap, and use that to get more tuna and fresh vegetables.   As it was, we actually had to leave some of our supplies behind to lighten the load on the car.  I hope someone found them and used them.  I also learned that you can stay pretty warm if you just have good insulation below you, and a mylar blanket behind a couple of candles can make a tiny space heater in a tent.

      Oh, and when you get all your water from a river, no matter how well you filter it, it’ll taste bad – so having a kilo of black tea on hand as well as something like gatorade powder will mean the difference between having to hold your nose to drink and staying reasonably hydrated.

    • #30347
      Crow Bar

      Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge. That was great.

      I have a Platypus gravity water filter. I got the in-line carbon filter to get rid of any funky taste out of water. It works very well.

    • #30358

      Great advice!

      I’ve also found that older beans need to soak longer than fresher beans. With the old part of my stash I soak for 24 hours at least. I also start the soak with boiling water, which may or may not be easy to do, depending on your situation.

      Good idea on the tea and flavor packets.  When I took Selco’s course in Croatia, we had to drink filtered puddle water. The exercise was meant to help us trust our filtration devices. It definitely didn’t taste like it was “fresh from a mountain spring” but it didn’t make me sick. Some flavoring would have been quite welcome.

    • #30401

      I’ve used beans that I put up for Y2K and they were great. I made a pot of them just last week. The secret is to soak them twice as long as regular beans. The last batch of beans I fixed for red beans and rice I soaked for almost 48 hours. I’m sure boiling them would shorten that time but I haven’t gone that route yet. The second thing I do is cook them longer than normal. It means I have to plan a little more when I make red beans and rice but they are so so good.

    • #30437
      Matt In Oklahoma

      This is great knowledge. I like hearing this kind of stuff

    • #30446
      Rowan Redbranch

      Agreed on the longer soaking times!  It can make a pretty big difference.  When I have something fancy like a kitchen stove I can use, I like the fast soak method where you bring the beans to a boil for a few minutes, then drain, refill the pot, and then cook as usual.  But that sure isn’t as effective with older beans.

      That experience sure made me appreciate things like hot running water, privacy, a washing machine, etc.  Also when I was very small my folks and I lived out in a cabin with no running water, no power, no sewer line.  Entertainment was a radio or sometimes watching the static electricity sparks fly from my dad reading a braille book in the dark.  Maybe I should host a thread on all the strange things I’ve lived through!

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