Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Preparing Seeds

Preparing Seeds

The tools of the trade for making a great meal out of seeds are pretty simple. A big pot of simmering water is a must, but beans need to cook for a good long while to brew the flavors well. Unless you can mind the pot carefully so as not to let it over-boil or under-boil, a Crock Pot is a very handy thing.

That’s what I use, turning it on before work in the morning and letting it go all day long – eight hours at least. When I return, the building is filled with the wondrous fragrance of heavenly beans, swimming in their juices and ready for the next step.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The first thing to do is decide which kinds of beans you want to eat. Personally, I like a combination of maybe six to eight. The deeper and darker the colors, the better. Usually I put in some pink and white beans, maybe navy beans too, but definitely there must be a majority of dark ones like black beans, red beans and pinto beans.

These are where the richest colors and flavors come from. I like to use a ¼ cup measuring spoon and dip into whatever jar suits my fancy. Each spoonful goes into a bowl and is covered with water – about twice as much water as the level of the beans. This happens the evening before, by the way. The beans soak up water all night long so they can relax and attend to being cooked the next day.

I’m sure you can appreciate how stressful it would be to know you were being cooked in a withered and dry state. (OK, I'm using a little metaphorical fun here for present day happenings - joke!)

No salt is added yet, because it would interfere with the absorption of the water by the beans. Just ask anyone who boils peanuts along the side of the road in Georgia. Putting in salt too soon will prevent the water from reaching the peanuts through the peanut shell.

The time will soon come for salt, and then if it is accidentally omitted you will have flat, tasteless, flavorless beans. This is NOT because they lack saltiness, however. Yes, that sounds paradoxical, but it will be explained later.

After the beans are sitting serenely in the water you can contemplate them with a joyful spirit, rejoicing both in the beauty of these delightful seeds, and in the gracious meal soon to be yours.