HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Do you create unique foods?
TELL US

"Fresh" dried Pinto Beans in Los Angeles?

EarlyBird Apr 26, 2012 11:11 AM

All,

I never really appreciated the need for dried beans to be "fresh," until I made some classic refried beans with a bag of dried pintos my sister brought home with her from a trip to New Mexico. They were so tender and tasty.

Though "fresh dried beans" sounds like a contradiction in terms, I mean to say dried beans that are not old, having been dried fairly recently.

Does anyone know where in Los Angeles I can find "new" or "fresh" dried pinto beans? I'm going to make a batch with my carnitas on Cinco de Mayo.

Gracias.

  1. Joe Blowe Apr 26, 2012 12:43 PM

    Try Rancho Gordo online, or from one of the few stores in SoCal that stock their products...

    http://ranchogordo.com/html/rg_market...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Joe Blowe
      w
      will47 Apr 26, 2012 03:25 PM

      Cacao in Eagle Rock sells their beans usually.

    2. e
      Ernie Apr 26, 2012 01:22 PM

      Most Latino grocery stores, e.g., Vallarta have scoop bins with dried pinto beans that are usually "fresher" than the packaged variety due to more turnover

      1. a
        AnnieAmie 1 day ago

        I may have the answer for you. I buy fresh pinto beans at the Buy Low Market in Inglewood, CA. I think that most hispanic markets sell pinto beans in bulk and you can find those throughout Los Angeles. If you buy pintos in the pre-packaged bags, you're not getting fresh beans. Always buy beans in bulk for the freshest beans.

        Look for light-colored pintos only. The darker the bean, the older the bean!

        I'd like to add a little info for you. I learned, after years of trying to make a good pot of beans that Los Angeles water is too hard. No matter how long you soak them, they will never be creamy while using LA tap water.

        Buy some bottles of water and soak the beans first using only bottled water. Drain the beans and cook them in more bottled water. You can even use a pressure cooker and cook with dried beans but make sure you use the bottled water. It makes all the difference in the texture of the finished beans. I promise you that you will have creamy and soft beans using the bottled water.

        And if you have a good recipe for your sister's beans, please share the recipe?

        3 Replies
        1. re: AnnieAmie
          paulj 1 day ago

          When do you think (or better yet know) those beans were harvested and dried?

          The other day I browsed the bulk beans at Whole Foods. Some, mainly Washington grown organics), had a harvest date. For most that was last fall (Sept 2013), though some were from the previous year.

          Since states like North Dakota and Michigan are the largest growers of dry beans in the USA, 'last fall' is the freshest your beans will be.

          Looks like Mexican bean harvest has a similar seasonality:
          http://michiganbean.org/wp-content/up...
          "The most abundant crops in Mexico are obtained from September to December from the Spring-Summer cycle. That is the time when most of the Mexican beans are traded. It is important to mention that the U.S bean production is obtained from the end of August to the end of October, overlapping with the Mexican bean production."

          USA exports more beans than it imports.

          1. re: AnnieAmie
            EarlyBird about 1 hour ago

            That is great information, Annie. I appreciate it. Funny about the water. I will cook with bottled water (Sparklett's) because I just don't like the taste, but never considered water "hardness" and how that may affect the soaking process.

            I soak the beans overnight. Next morning add a dollop of bacon grease (or finely chopped bacon) in a pot along with a quartered onion, a few smashed cloves of garlic and a jalapeno sliced in half (w/seeds).

            Just cover with water, bring to a boil then immediately reduce to a simmer. Simmer for a couple of hours. Have a kettle of water on to boil and add the boiling water just enough to cover beans whenever the water gets a bit low. About 3/4s of the way through, add some salt. When fully cooked, mash them in the pot.

            1. re: EarlyBird
              paulj 22 minutes ago

              Ruhlman surveys various facts and pros/cons in cooking beans

              http://ruhlman.com/2011/03/how-to-cook-dried-beans/

              http://www.thekitchn.com/think-salt-i...
              quotes from Cooks Illustrated tests.

              All sources blame hard water for hard to cook beans. That's because of the calcium ions that are common in hard water. Acidity of the water also makes a difference. More acid (e.g. use to tomatoes) means slower cooking, more alkaline (e.g. baking soda) speeds it up.

              Rullman thinks the alkaline water makes them too soft; CI likes to use baking soda.

              The last time I cooked beans (peruanos) I used a 1/4 t of baking soda (for 1c beans). The beans cooked faster than I expected (though I wasn't timing things carefully). They were soft, but were not falling apart.

          2. s
            SteveOtruba 1 day ago

            It may not be quick and easy in LA but when I was living in the area I always tried to plan to get beans from Lompoc Beans <http://lompocbeans.com/>. Loved all there varieties, locally grown. Besides... making the drive up there gave me a good excuse to stop for a wine tasting :-

            )

            SteveO

            1 Reply
            1. re: SteveOtruba
              EarlyBird about 1 hour ago

              Cool. I'm a major bean lover. I'll have to check them out.

            Show Hidden Posts