Black beans have long been a staple food in Mexico, Central, and South America, the Caribbean and the southern United States.
Cooked black beans have a creamy texture with a slightly sweet flavor.
If you are buying dried black beans in bulk, only buy as much as you are planning to use in the next month, because freshly dried beans are generally better than older ones.
Try to buy bags of dried beans that have few to none broken or shriveled beans. Tiny holes in dried beans indicate bug infestation and should be avoided.
Unopened canned beans should be used within a year.
Dried black beans should be stored in a sealed container in a cool, dry place. When they are properly stored, they can last up to one year. When restocking, do not mix new beans with any remaining older dried beans. They will cook at different rates. Older beans will take longer to cook.
Cooked beans should be refrigerated and used within 5 days.
To freeze cooked beans, drain first and place in an airtight container. Use frozen cooked black beans within 6 months.
Adding the herbs summer savory and epazote can help reduce the flatulence suffered by many who eat beans.
For a gluten-free option, simply swap a can of black beans (rinsed, drained, and puréed) for 1 cup of flour. This trick cuts up to up to 200 calories and adds protein to a sweet treat. Since the color of the beans will alter the color of your dessert, try with a chocolate cake or brownie on the first try.
If an Asian recipe calls for black beans you could substitute black bean sauce.
Black beans also contain a complex sugar called oligosaccharides, but the human body does not produce the enzyme that would naturally break this sugar down. This causes them to ferment in the digestive system, and begin to produce methane, which is released from the body in rather unpleasant ways.
When buying dried beans, be sure there are no small twigs or stones.
Fresher dried beans will contain more moisture and cook in less time.
In hot weather, refrigerate black beans while they soak to prevent any kind of fermentation.
Quick-soak method: cover beans with water, bring to a boil, and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 2 hours. Drain, cover with fresh water and continue cooking.
The fiber and protein in black beans keeps digestion flowing at a steady rate, helping to balance blood sugar levels in the body.
Black beans benefit the nervous system by helping provide the necessary amino acids and molybdenum, helping to reduce the risk of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Black beans are a good source of folate. The folate levels in a woman’s body are integral to the normal and healthy development of a fetus, particularly with regard to the brain and spinal cord. By adding healthy amounts of black beans, and therefore folate, into your diet, you can protect your baby while he or she is still in the womb.
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