Copyright © 2006 Grams’ RecipeBook Healthy eating-Fish-Easy Meals Site MapSoups & stewsCakes Cookies & GoodiesBreadsArticles Gram’s Recipe BookBeans.Tips on preparation and cooking these healthy, fiber rich tasty foods. Whether you want a simple bean soup or a spicy chili we’ll provide information on how to prepare beans and recipes that are proven to be family favorites.These high fiber low fat legumes are a great treat in the winter. Flavorful soups and spicey dishes using beans as the basis produce a healthy complete meal that needs no other sources of protein. They can also be eaten as a great side dish served with a variety of meats or poultry. Soaking beans will make them cook faster and helps reduce some of the natural chemicals that can result in gas: Beans should be inspected for any small stones or dirt. Wash after sorting and soak either overnight or you may also quick soak them by taking 2 quarts of water for every two cups of beans. Place water and beans in a 6-quart pan, cover and bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Set aside and allow beans to soak from 2 to 4 hours. The longer beans soak the more digestible they are.After soaking drain and rinse, beans are now ready to cook. When adding salt or acidic foods, such as tomatoes, wine, and citrus juices do so when beans are almost cooked. (15-30 minutes before end of cooking time) If added to early these ingredients will toughen the beans and slow cooking time substantially. Rule of thumb in determine how much dry beans to cook is – 2 ½ cups of raw beans will make 5 to 6 cups of cooked beans.Different varieties of beans will vary in length of cooking time. Depending on how you plan on using your beans you may adjust the time to allow for a firmer bean or in some cases a softer product. If cooked too long they can become very soft, so watch them closely as they get close to being done. Most chain stores or small markets handle a limited variety of dry beans, some of the more common types are red beans, kidney, black, navy, Great Northern and lima beans. However, there are numerous heirloom beans that may be found in specialty markets, natural food stores or at farmer markets, each specific variety has its own distinct characteristics of flavor and texture. If you enjoy beans then by all means try some of the less known varieties, I am sure you will not be disappointed. Beans are a healthy addition to your diet, they are low fat, rich in fiber and an inexpensive source of protein. They can be used as a complete meal or a side dish. Learn how to prepare and cook them.