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  • Writer's pictureAstara E. Edmonds

Good Info. on This & That

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

Beans, Beans, Beans...

Beans are a near perfect healthy food. Storehouses of nutrients, dry beans are high in protein, fiber, iron, folic acid while low in fat and cholesterol. They're also delicious, extremely economical and an Eco-friendly source of protein. When combined with rice or corn, beans can supply all essential amino acids, the building blocks of proteins we need. They digest slowly, satisfying hunger and energy needs for long periods of time.

Selecting: Look for smooth surfaces and bright colors. Dull, wrinkled surfaces can indicate age.

Storing: Store beans in an airtight container away from heat and use them within 6 months. Sort and rinse. Remove any shriveled beans and pebbles. Rinse beans in a colander under cold running water.

Soak: With few exceptions, beans will cook more evenly, tenderly and in less time, if they have been soaked first. Most beans benefit from soaking least 4 hours and up to 12 hours.

Or try the quick-soak method by covering the beans with 2 inches of water and boil 2 minutes.

Cook: Drain and rinse beans after soaking. In a large saucepan or pot, cover beans with fresh water by about 1 inch (3 to 4 cups of water for every cup of beans). Partially cover pot, bring beans to a gentle boil, and then lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender. Cooking time will vary depending on soaking time and age of the beans. Simmer beans gently. A vigorous boil can cause them to fall apart. Cook beans until barely tender, if they are to be cooked again in a recipe. A pressure cooker or instant pot will cook dried beans to tender perfection on high in 30-60 minutes.

Yield: One cup of dry beans yields 2 to 3 cups of cooked beans.


Rice is simply the most consumed food in the world. With high nutrients, rice is a good source of insoluble fiber. Among other nutrients, rice is rich in carbohydrates, the main sources of energy, low in fat, contains some protein and plenty of B vitamins. Rice is also gluten free and easily digested.

Measuring: The general ratio is 1 c. rice to 1-1/2 or 2 c. water, plus 1/8 to 1/2 tsp. sea salt.

Place rice, salt and water in a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid.Simmering: Bring water and salt to a boil in a heavy pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add rice, bring back to a boil, stir once, cover and simmer over low heat until the grains are tender.

Basmati (white imported and brown) A long-grain, highly aromatic, hulled rice from India. Usually aged for a year to develop its full flavor. White: 1 c. rice to 1-1/2 c. liquid. Brown: 1 c. rice to 2 c. liquid. Simmer white basmati 30 minutes and brown 45 minutes.

Brown Rice (long grain) Tends to remain separate and fluffy when cooked. 1 c. rice to 2 c. liquid. Simmer 45 minutes.

Brown Rice (short grain) A sticky, chewy rice. 1 c. rice to 2-1/4 c. liquid. Simmer 45 minutes.

Brown Rice (sweet) Very sticky. It is what sushi is made from. 1 c. rice to 2 c. liquid.

Simmer 50 minutes.

Forbidden Rice A nutty-tasting black rice, imported from China. Soft textured; purple when cooked. 1 c. rice to 2 c. liquid. Simmer 30 minutes.

Jasmine Rice (white or brown) An aromatic, long-grain rice similar to basmati.

White: 1 c. rice to 1-3/4 c. liquid. Brown: 1 c. rice to 2 c. liquid. Simmer white rice 30 minutes and brown rice for 45 minutes.

Red Rice Imported from Bhutan; has a nutty taste and pink color when cooked.

1 c. rice to 1/2 c. liquid. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes.

Texmati Rice (brown) A cross between basmati and long-grain American rice.

Fluffier and milder in flavor and aroma than imported basmati. 1 c. rice to 1-3/4 c. liquid.

Simmer 15-18 minutes.

Wild Rice Technically an aquatic grass seed, but cooked and enjoyed as a rice. Delightfully chewy and full-flavored, often mixed with other rices. 1 c. rice to 3 c. liquid. Rinse well. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer rapidly 45 minutes.

From “Spirit and Spices, The Vegetarian Way” by Astara E. Edmonds.

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