Bean bonanza showcases efficient cooking techniques

Senior James Most hosted a bean-boiling workshop on Tuesday, March 25 in honor of Veggie Awareness Week. Over four pots of beans were boiled and later eaten at a dinner hosted by Most. Interested students learned how to efficiently boil beans, conserving energy and producing a great taste.

“One trick is to save the bean water for your plants. The nutrients can be great for them,” said Most.
Students experimented with different spices and ingredients.

Most soaked the beans overnight, boiled them, added garlic and onions and stirred in various spices including curry powder in one pot and rosemary in a second pot, among other ingredients.

“The key to adding spices is to add the salt at the end,” said Most.

Center for Community Service Coordinator Lina Menard brought a pressure cooker and showed students how to use it. Cooking beans in a pressure cooker uses less energy than cooking on a stove does. The beans took about one-fourth as much time cooking in the pressure cooker, with only minimal heat. Instead of presoaking beans overnight, Menard’s pressure cooker has a two minute quick soak option.

“I fell in love with these because it saves time, it saves energy and it saves nutrients because you don’t cook anything for nearly as long,” said Menard.

One of the drawbacks to using a pressure cooker is it must be closely watched to avoid explosions due to an excess of pressure. Menard warned students of these dangers, and encouraged students not to buy pressure cookers second-hand because a faulty pressure cooker can be extremely dangerous.

“We’re saving the world… by making dinner,” said James Most.

Students at the workshop were invited to stay for a well attended dinner of beans and biscuits at Most’s house.