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Oct 30, 2011 11:27 PM

Discard Old Dried Legumes/Lentils/Pulse?

I know i'm not the only one who has old foodstuffs hanging around, that you never did have the motivation to cook..... Sigh. I'm particularly bad w/ legumes: split peas, beluga lentils, rice beans, and dal of all types,black eyed peas, adzuki beans , Rancho Gordo extravagances, etc etc. Do they all get grainy/mealy after a yr. and i should just chuck them all? thanks for your help.

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  1. i would start cooking them instead of tossing them (esp. the expensive ones. ;-). old dried beans may not get as soft and they take longer to cook. i've cooked some pretty old dried beans and they were fine.

    1 Reply
    1. re: alkapal

      I agree. Recently, I cooked some ancient navy beans; they were okay in soup.

    2. If you are not going to cook with them (which you certainly can), please donate to a food kitchen rather than wasting them. I do that periodically with food that is perfectly fine but not likely to be consumed at my house.

      1. the rancho gordo beans tend to last well because they are sold fresh. I have lentils that are a year old and are really good. I think you should cook and freeze them.

        1 Reply
        1. re: magiesmom

          cooking and freezing is a good idea, but if you're not going to eat them, they'll just be stuffing the freezer. if the bags/boxes are open from a one-time use, they can no longer be donated to a pantry.

          if you're really never gonna make them, just chuck them. beans are cheap.

        2. come on -- cook 'em -- that was a great beans thread going…..

          beans are great.

          here, start with my super-easy low-fat black eyed peas salad: cook the peas with a **little** bit of rendered bacon fact and bacon, then to cooled and drained beans add fresh pico de gallo along with a glug of rice wine vinegar. (ps, it is best to use leftover peas, as it is a crime not to eat the undrained peas hot out of the pot with some buttered cornbread or hoecake). (in other words, don't waste the pot liquor!).

          7 Replies
          1. re: alkapal

            You know, while I am a bean lover and eat them almost daily, I've never really bonded with black eyed peas. Your treatment sounds good. For the salad, do you mean add the bacon fat and bacon to the beans as they're doing their initial cooking? Do you have a specific pico de gallo recipe you use?

            1. re: tcamp

              While black-eued peas are quite 'earthy', you should try making Hoppin' John using a smokes ham shank or ham bone. I too didn't really care for black eyed peas until I tried them in this dish. (I've made it 4 or 5 times but always skip the rice).

              1. re: tcamp

                I chop some bacon, saute it to render a good bit of its fat, then add the peas and water to cover in the pot, salt, then bring to boil.

                i do the cheater pico -- i buy it! ;-).

                it is called "fresh salsa" and has lime juice, tomatoes, jalapeños and onions (cilantro? mmm, maybe …). it is chopped medium fine, and i use it on so many things. i buy it in the fresh produce section, in a small transparent tub.

                mr. alka likes it on his soft chicken tacos and beef burritos. we like it on yellow rice, it is good to put into black bean soup, and on top of other soups. it is good on greens (along with texas pete pepper vinegar, of course). it is also good on cottage cheese. i've also used it to make a quickie indian "saag" with fresh spinach, garam masala, ginger and garlic pastes and chicken stock.

                i certainly could make it, but i cannot get good tomatoes and, frankly, this is just easy, versatile and handy. if i lived in florida with good tomatoes, i'd make a similar sized batch and keep it on the fridge. i don't have time to make a fresh pico every time i want to cook or use it.

                1. re: alkapal

                  as always, your taste is right up there,apal ! thanks much and cooking these :-} and hoppin john too. w/o the rice. i even have a fresh batch of recently baked cheddar chile cornbread to accompany it!

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    i don't think hoppin' john is "hoppin' john" without the rice, though.

                    1. re: alkapal

                      that's good to know. O.K. i'm going to make "Hoppin' john w/o the Rice".xo

                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        LOL…don't let those new orleaneans see this…

                        are you off of rice?

                        ps, i love all of your sharing of tremendously attractive recipes from your years of catering experience. thank you so much; you are most generous.

                        i always love a good meaty hambone to make beans, and use bacon as my ready-proxy. i wish there were a good source for buying ham bones. unfortunately, one has to buy a ham to get the bone and that takes forever to eat (and is a honkin' amount of ham). once i do get one, i freeze portions after we have tired of ham sandwiches, quiche, ham and grits, green eggs and ham, and the like…to use later for fettuccine with ham and peas…and more quiche, omelets, split pea soup, etc…. and etc. LOL

            2. If they are really, really old, you can use them to weigh down bottom crust pie shells when you bake them. As they age, they get harder and harder to soak and cook into submission. But next time, donate them before they get too old. There are only so many pie weights one can use.

              5 Replies
              1. re: sr44

                i've always wondered, what is the effect of baking blind crusts on the beans that weigh them down? my question is, "how does this affect the beans when you cook them?" or are they forever just "beans for keeping your crust down"?

                does anyone use stainless steel pellets?

                1. re: alkapal

                  I have a Mason jar in the freezer with beans that I've used many times just as pie weights. I use a piece of parchment paper over the dough before adding the beans. Never will try to cook them!

                    1. re: nemo

                      yes, freezer a good idea; i remember how mine once became worm nesting....
                      a pal, the metal weights are too exp.; i mixed mine w/ beans in order to have enough.

                    2. re: alkapal

                      i once got a prosciutto bone from a deli after they'd finished w/ the meat.// i also use ham hocks which are cheap and always available here at Market Basket chain.