Monday, March 17, 2008

Yin Yang Beans?

Are these for real? Yes! Similar in flavor but milder than the black bean, Calypso beans are a hybrid with dramatic black and white coloring that resembles an Asian yin yang symbol, complete with black dot.

Cooking Instructions:

Because these are dried beans, you will need to sort, rinse and soak them before cooking.

Sort the beans by spreading them out on a clean kitchen towel or shallow baking pan. Discard any shriveled or broken beans along with stones or debris and rinse in cold water.

To soak beans, add 3 to 4 cups of water for every cup of beans or bring the water level in the pot to 2 or 3 inches above the beans. (In extremely warm weather, soak the beans in the refrigerator to avoid fermentation.) Then use one of these two methods: quick soak them by bringing to a boil and boiling briskly for 2 to 3 minutes, then cover and set aside for 4 hours; or, long soak the beans at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight. The quick soak method can remove up to 80% of the indigestible sugars that cause flatulence. The long soak method does not remove as much of the indigestible sugars but the beans retain their shape better. Do not add salt to the soaking water and always discard the soaking water before cooking.

Stovetop Cooking
Regardless of which soaking method you used, drain and discard the soaking water. Add fresh water or broth to a level about 2" higher than the beans. Bring to a boil slowly, skimming off any foam that may appear on the surface. When the liquid is at full boil, reduce the heat, partially cover, and simmer until the beans are tender. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. The beans are done when they can be easily mashed with a fork or easily pierced with the tip of a knife.

Many bean recipes say "cook until done." This is because bean cooking times can vary greatly depending on such factors as variety, size, density, and age of the bean. As a general rule, most bean varieties require 60 to 90 minutes of cooking time. Bean varieties that cook faster include Anasazi, Calypso, Fava, Baby Lima, and Trout.

Pressure Cooking
Put soaked and drained beans in the pressure cooker, taking care to fill the cooker no more than 1/3 full to allow for expansion. Add water to cover along with 1 Tbsp of oil to reduce foaming. Cover and cook at 10 lbs. pressure for 25 to 30 minutes. Pressure cookers can vary, so be sure to follow manufacturer's directions. Beans with skins, such as Fava, Lima and Lupini, are not recommended for pressure cookers since the skins can plug the pressure vent with potentially explosive results.

Microwave cooking
Combine 1 cup soaked beans and 3 cups water in a 4 quart microwaveable dish. Cover and cook on HIGH for 10 to 15 minutes or until boiling. Stir and microwave on MEDIUM (50% power) for 25 to 35 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes until tender.
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