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I love salads during the hot summer months in Chico. No one wants to cook because it is simply to hot. My newest favorite is to make what I call "salad beans" in spring or whenever and can them using a pressure canner or freeze them. Salad beans are basically just ever so slightly under-cooked, flavour-full beans to add to salads during the hotter months to add protein to your diet. They have just enough spice to enjoy them and are full of protein and fiber to help fullfil your needs.
Beans continue to grow well into the winter months. Continue planting beans and other legumes up until at least august in order to really experience all they have to offer. More on that later :) We took the opportunity to photo our most recent bean endeavors. Without question... these indeed surpass the quality of store bought canned beans. Simply can with a pressure canner or freeze the beans for up to one year...really!!! Here is our recommended recipe...
(pinto, santa maria, black, kidney or small red, I pretty much use what I have on hand)
2 cups dried beans, picked and sorted, then washed (yes, beans can have rocks and such in them)2 to 3 quarts of water (we actually usually use home-made chicken stock or broth)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/2 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 to 2 jalapeño chile peppers, seeds and membranes removed, and sliced into 1/8-inch pieces ( add more if you like it spicy!)Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (add it at the end)
Optional additions: (I always add these without fail, but vegetarians know that they will still be yummy without bacon and chicken stock or broth)1/4 pound fatback, bacon or other fatty meat, 5 slices of bacon is a good amount to use
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chile powder
2 teaspoons paprika
Beans should be soaked and rehydrated, overnite. Using 8 cups of liquid for every 3 1/2 cups of beans is perfect. Cut bacon into lardons, small match sticks (omit if vegertarian). Cook over medium heat until the fat from the bacon has been released. Next, add the garlic, jalapeño, and onions, making sure not to brown them. Continue with the addition of all the spices. Do not over cook. 30 seconds of searing and the oils have been exuded. Add all the liquid and bring to a simmer, I like to use the crock pot for this but you have to keep a close eye on it. Check often to make sure not to over cook, you do not want to add mushy beans to your yummy summer salad. When perfect, remove from heat and let cool. Before freezing or canning (if canning make sure to really under-cook, since you add cook time when canning) strain away most of the liquid and remove oinion, garlic, jalapeño, and bacon (if added). Enjoy!