Pulses info Cooking Tips
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Pulses info and tips will help you in your cooking and food preparation.These are very useful and quite interesting information that you learn once and then apply at any time you need it.
In this country at the moment we`re altlgetting much more interested in dried beans and rice. They`re really nutritious dead cheap and the choice and quality are definitely getting better. I think the improvement in quality has a tot to do with us becoming less tolerant of alt the secondclass stuff that we used to accept so readily from other countries.
The idea of drying beans goes back thousands of years. It was done to preserve foodstocks so that people could carry on eating the local produce well after the season had finished and quite honestly nothing has really changed today. The only criteria for the best produce is that it is grown on good soil picked at its best and dried as soon as possible. Pulses shouldn`t be dirty have stones in or took tatty. A sign of age in dried beans is when they start to shrivel and crack. Most pulses keep well for up to a year; after that they become harder to reconstitute and tend to burst or crack when cooked.
At the River Cafe as soon as the quality of the fresh beans starts to go (towards the end of the season) then it is straight on to that year`s dried beans. (Rose and Ruth always get samples from different suppliers to compare the cooked quality.) In my opinion goodquality dried beans are almost as good as fresh ones. There are so many things you can do with pulses: put them in salads stews soups casseroles or simply use them as you would a vegetable.
how to cook pulses
I think we should have a little chat about what we`re going to do with these pulses. What you have to get into the habit of doing is before you go to bed just chucking a mugful of washed pulses into cold water to soak overnight. This will shorten the cooking time next day and help to prevent them from splitting during cooking. Borlotti cannellini blackeyed and butter beans chickpeas and split peas all have to be soaked in this way. Pick out any dodgylooking ones. I don`t soak lentils because they don`t take that long to cook.
The cooking times tend to vary for pulses. There`s no great mystery about the cooking time it all really depends on their age and how long they have been soaking. As a rough guide after an overnight soak rinse bring them to the boil in fresh water`and simmer for about 1 hour or until tender (just taste one). You can pop a peeled potato and a scored tomato in with the pulses as this helps to soften the skin and you can also put in some herbs or a bouquet garni to infuse some flavour. I sometimes put in a rasher of smoked bacon which I take out and discard after the pulses are cooked.
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