Featured at the Winter Farmers’ Market: Dried Beans

Beans are one of the world’s oldest foods, dating back nearly 4,000 years. They come in many colorful varieties, and must be picked, shelled, and dried before storage. In the Seacoast, among the varieties available are heirlooms (Marfax, True Red Cranberry, Stueben Yellow Eye), which were planted by the native populations. Our local beans are so much fresher than what you find on the grocery shelves. Soaking and cooking times can be reduced when preparing dishes with this local ingredient (the beans on grocery shelves can be many years old and require much rehydration). If you have a crock-pot, try making Boston Baked Beans.

There will be a few vendors with beans this Saturday, including Baer’s Best Farm and Meadow’s Mirth Farm.

Purchasing:
Be sure to ask your farmer about the particular variety bean, including it’s best use.

Storing:
Store dried bean in a cool, dry place. While they store nearly indefinitely, it’s best to use them while they are young, and take advantage of their quicker cooking times and fresher taste.

Cooking and Eating:
Sort through your beans to remove dirt or stones. Rinse and soak for 6-8 hours before cooking.

Recipes:
Garlic Lover’s White Bean Soup
White Bean and Onion Fritters
Simple Spicy Beans
Rancho Gordo, great source of bean info and recipes
High Fiber Brownies

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