Fast-cooking Dry Beans Offer Valuable Nutrition

Posted 01/24/2017 | By HealthCorps

If you are a meat eater trying to reduce consumption of animal protein, or a vegetarian or vegan looking to nudge the protein levels in your diet higher, then fast-cooking dry beans are a great option.  Fast-cooking dry beans have more protein and iron than many of the standard bean counterparts.

Beans in general are a great source of nutrients, fiber and protein, and they tend to be very affordable, whether canned or dried.  What’s also nice about beans is that they store well.  A new study suggests that fast-cooking dry beans pack even more protein than other bean versions, retaining their protein content better than beans cooked the slow, traditional way.  This could be especially beneficial to the two billion people worldwide who, according to the WHO (World Health Organization, are deficient in many vitamins and minerals including iron and zinc.  It can also benefit many of us seeking solid nutrition, particularly protein, without the accompanying saturated fat found in meat.

The study’s aim was to see if fast-cooking beans had similar nutritional values and specifically protein levels to the traditional slow-cooking beans.  The researchers examined 12 varieties of fast, moderate and slow cooking beans from four classes of bean: yellow, cranberry, light red and mottled.  In one case they found that one fast-cooking yellow bean, Cebo Cela, contained 20 percent more protein, 10 percent more iron, and 10 percent more zinc than another slow cook variety of yellow bean.  Researchers also found that iron bio-availability was better in each of the four classes of beans, in the fast-cooking varieties.

Some bean facts:

  • A 15-ounce can of beans provides about three half cup servings of beans.
  • One pound of dry edible beans yields about 6 cups of cooked beans.
  • The cost of a 15-ounce can of beans ranges from about 33–67 cents per 1/2-cup serving, depending on whether people buy the store brand instead of the national brand.
  • A half cup of dry beans, cooked from scratch, costs about 17 cents.
  • One type of bean can usually be substituted for another type in recipes. Taste and color may vary slightly.

Some experts now say that you don’t need to soak “fresh dried beans,” nor do you need to salt them during the cooking process to get them softer.  You may just be used to a saltier flavor if you don’t routinely rinse canned beans.  You can fast cook dried beans on top of the stove but you will likely get a better flavor and texture if you use a slower method in the oven – unless the beans are specifically made to be fast-cooked.

Beans should be a regular part of your family’s diet.  They are low calorie and incredibly satiating.  Add them to soups, salads, stews and make them a regular part of your weekly menu plans.

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