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Monday, January 6, 2014

Hydrating, Saturating and De-hydrating

Actually it is more than just re-hydration of the beans. I'm following the theory and method from the Nourishing Traditions book. I'm soaking the beans which contain phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors in order to deactivate these properties and avoid digestive stress and allow protein assimilation and absorption. The beans are so inexpensive and nutritionally packed but they do need to be processed properly. I know some books don't even suggest soaking the beans and certainly the cooking time is usual given as "till tender". According to the Nourishing Traditions book it is suggested the beans are soaked for 12-24 hours and some in acidulated water (lemon juice or whey) and then simmered for 4-8 hours.

Here is a high definition photo of the beans soaking showing them covered in tiny air bubbles. (Looks similar to the pencil drawing of Richard Klekociuk) I've tried eating dried beans without soaking and simmered till tender and although they are certainly edible, the stomach "discomfort" and "wind" is not pleasant. I tend to soak the beans and then cook them for several hours in a slow cooker as part of a meat casserole. In summer after a good long simmer, I rinse and refrigerate and use in salads.

I'm also dehydrating. Can you guess what they are?
These currants are so tart not even the birds touch them (well almost never) but they are full of pectin which makes them great to mix with other berries and fruit that may be low in pectin required for jam and jelly setting (more about pectin here). They are rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants and also make delicious cordial but instead of making cordial this year with them I have decided to dehydrate them.
While they are fresh and plump and round, just one can make your lips purse tight and your cheeks contract hard over the teeth but when dehydrated they seem to concentrate their flavour and though still "tangy" they are quite delicious and incredibly tasty in a pumpkin and cous cous or quinoa salad with some mint and maybe a honey/chilli dressing. These could also be used in place of the dried currants in the Beetroot and Carrot Salad with Pomegranate Dressing 
All very good reasons to include easy growing black currant bushes in your garden.

Can you guess what these are? They are not marshmallows...
The long white radish.
I'm pickling these in a natural fermentation method same as we did for the beetroot (in this post) and cucumbers (this post here).
In the one on the right I have also added a modest amount of my home grown caraway seeds. Lee from Killiecrankie Farm Nursery has warned me that growing and using your own caraway is much more potent than the shop bought seeds so I am being conservative with the amounts.
After a couple of weeks saturating in the brine fermentation should be complete and my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

So we are still keeping busy waiting for summer to arrive in Tasmania and filling in the days before the tomato glut processing. 
What are you preserving at the moment?


  1. I like to just sprout my beans before cooking.

  2. great blog just found you through hettie brown blog. will be checking in again from hesta

  3. That post title made me think of the hot weather we have been having lol!

    You have been busy as usual. I have been making zucchini and tomato relish as well as tomato sauce. Nectarines are next :)


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