I’m taking a quick step away from gardening today to talk about cooking! Cooking with vegetables, so it’s still kind-of gardening related! Hopefully you will agree. Either way, i’ve got some interesting news for you.
I learned something crazy this week. This week was the first time I attempted to cook beans from their dried form rather than just buying canned already cooked beans. For one, buying a bag of beans is WAY cheaper than buying cans. But more importantly is that bean water (which is what i’m calling the liquid leftover from cooking your beans to perfection) is a delicious addition to any soup stock! I swear i’m not making this up. The leftover goopy bean water is delicious.
I should preface all of this with the fact that if you cook your beans without any aromatics, your bean water might not be that delicious. It will certainly be creamy and thick, but might lack some solid flavour with which to call it delicious. So when cooking my beans this week I used 1/2 an onion, 3 bay leaves, 2 whole garlic cloves, cumin and rosemary to spice up that bean water and make my beans a bit more delicious!
When I first bought the beans, I thought to myself, “Why are you creating more work for yourself, this is going to take forever!” And I was both right and wrong. It is a bit time consuming, but only because you have to soak the beans for 10 – 14 hours (essentially overnight). Cooking is not that hard, as it only takes an hour or two and it just simmers for most of that time. It is important to note that home cooked beans are WAY tastier than their canned friends, so I certainly think that the bit of extra effort is worth it. If you want more information on how to cook your beans perfectly visit this website (they taught me well!)
Ok, back to the bean water – It isn’t a new thing. I found a bit of interesting information on RootSimple:
According to [Lynn Rossetto] Caspar, Tuscans like to cook beans with plenty of aromatics in lots of water, and then reserve that water as a broth. The bean broth is called Acqua Pazza, crazy water.
So what CAN we do with the bean water? Well I mentioned that it can be used to supplement any soup stock, which I plan to experiment with this week. Easy vegetable broths like this one could easily be spiced up by replacing the water with bean water. I should also note that saving vegetable scraps for broth, like recommended in that website, is a great way to avoid wasting vegetables – another great money saving tip! The bean water would also work great for cooking grains (quinoa and rice anyone??) and would provide a unique flavour to a risotto. Anytime a recipe calls for water or broth, i’m sure bean water could be substituted.
Experiment! I know I will be! And on top of the fancy bean water, i’m gunna have to find some more recipes for beans!!
~Landon Getz, External Coordinator