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Must I boil split peas/lintels/beans/rice?

So, I'm planning a minimal cooking diet as part of my disaster preparedness plan. One of the things I was thinking of eating were dried split peas/lintels/beans/rice. I know I can eat canned chili/oat meal cold, but I wounder about these bulk foods that do typically require preparation. Not looking for taste, just stuff I can eat if I have no power.

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  1. Just to be clear: should respondents assume you're not intending to eat them in dried form, just long soaking/hydration in cold water?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Karl S

      Correct, I'm thinking just a long cold soaking.

    2. Raw/dried beans of the sort mentioned above aren't generally safe to eat without processing. Long soaking can make them more digestible (as in 24 to 48 hours), changing the water every few hours. But at this point they can still be pretty hard to digest. You can sprout them, which takes 1-5 days and regular water changes. Some beans are more toxic than others. If you do a search on beans on a raw food diet, you'll get more tips.

      In general, the above tends to be true for grains and beans, including rice. Rolled oats have already been processed, which is why you can eat them as is. Instant rice might be okay, as it's been mostly cooked as well.

      But for disaster preparedness, it doesn't sound optimal - a minimum of 24 hours preparation before eating, potential gastric issues, and a lot of water required, which will not be drinkable. And if they're too old, they may not sprout.

      3 Replies
      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

        ok, sounds like canned beans and peas would be best. I'll just have to not be so cheap.

        1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

          What tastesgoodwhatisit said. With this addendum: Raw foods and semi-raw foods such as soaked or soaked-and-sprouted peas/beans are safe, and they are really useful for determined weight-loss dieters because they are largely indigestible. (you can eat your fill and gain almost no calories) i.e., they will pass through your system largely intact (in volume, they cause gas, diarrhea, cramping) This might be pretty great if your goal is to lose a lot of weight. (and if in your disaster-preparedness plan you have an unlimited supply of toilet paper and flush toilets) Not so great if you are hoping to live on uncooked dried beans.

          Dried foods that would work for you include fine-caliber cracked wheat, sold in bozex as tabouli salad. It is prepared by soaking, not cooking. Powdered hummus (just add water, oil) and canned hummus are also available.

        2. they will be a bit chewy but it beats starving. Although starving in the US is actually pretty rare.

          1. Get a cast iron dutch oven with legs, charcoal briquettes and a charcoal chimney starter. Then all you need is a match and a newspaper (or cardboard or any paper) and you are in business to cook outside. There will be 30 or 40 gallons of good water in the water heater for drinking and cooking.

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            1. You could cook them, then dehydrate and store. I did that in prep for long hikes--cook till a very thick consistency, then either oven-dry (very low and slow) or use a dehydrator. We hiked for 6 months, and my home-dried soups survived just fine--add water, and the meal is ready.

              3 Replies
              1. re: pine time

                Based on my experience being the support person for my daughters when they hiked the AT, I second this approach. They won't last forever but should be good for months. Be sure to package them so they will stay dry.

                1. re: Fiona

                  Yup, ours was the AT, too! I got the idea when just cooking a pot of beans--you know the dried crud that sticks to the side of the pan? I decided, hm, create more dried crud. Worked fine, and rehydrated easily and, since I had spiced it highly, was really tasty after a grueling day of hiking. Good, cheap protein, too. (My home-dried beef jerky didn't last quite as well, but was good for the 1st couple of months.)

                2. re: pine time

                  If you are hiking with it, I can see dehydration for weight. Just surviving at home, I'll open a can of beans. Cans of food last for years, are already cooked. You just need a can opener and a spoon. Dried food can get wet, bugs, mold, etc, and need water to prepare it.

                3. Some beans are toxic raw -- kidney beans absolutely need to be cooked, soaking won't fix it. I'd check about each individual bean you were thinking.

                  Lentils are OK -- you can get sprouted lentils lots of places, and those are uncooked.

                  Actually, lot of the ones that are safe to eat raw are good candidates for sprouting, so you might want to add a sprouting jar or two to your disaster kit.

                  1. I should think that as a power failure provision your best bet for beans would be single-serving cans of cooked beans. Dried beans would not be edible after soaking only. BTW if you have no grill, consider a tiny Sterno warmer so you can heat water for a hot drink or instant soup. When we had a power failure, something hot was what I missed most---could have been coffee or tea or soup. Something piping hot kind of reassures you that you are still a human being. Eating everything at room temperature was awful.

                    1. I once did a search on rice for the same purpose, Jason. I didn't find the definitive result I was looking for, but I did learn there are people out there who love to munch raw rice. The biggest problem seemed to be damage to teeth from overdoing, although there was also mention that too much swelling of volume in the stomach could cause problems. Altogether I decided we could eat raw rice if we needed to, but I picked up a hand-crank grain mill on Craig's List. It'd obviously be easier to eat and digest if mixed into a slurry.

                      Our preparedness only extends to sheltering at home with enough for a few months of stuff we eat anyway (and the means to cook it). I.e., for something like the power grid down and slow to get back up.

                      In addition, just for an extra cushion beyond simply laying in extras of dried and canned foods, condiments, salt and peppers that we rotate through routinely anyway, I have a few large bags of rice stored in a snap-close plastic tub, with the mill. Rice because it keeps well a really long time, years after moist grains would have spoiled, and long after beans would probably have gone bad too. The longest I've kept a bag before using it is 5 years, just to see what happened, and we literally didn't notice any difference from just purchased.

                      After I read that 3000-year-old honey was found in an Egyptian tomb, still edible due to honey's special properties, I laid in a few extra glass jars of that too.

                      BTW, I don't know if it's showing up where you live yet, but I was just chatting with a kudzu admirer, and all parts of it are edible, including the roots. Something worth knowing around this area, though I hope never actually particularly useful. :)

                      1. Cooked and Freeze Dried products would work much better for your purposes.