“Una Carga” of beans, please! That’s right, we just bought 200 lbs of beans here in Honduras. The hope is to have this amount last our family of five for the entire year. Sounds like a lot, huh?!
During December, it is the right time to try and buy this quantity of red beans so that we don’t have to worry about what we will eat when prices sky rocket. Actually, I was very worried we weren’t going to find this amount to store up for the year.
“Los frijoles” crop has really suffered in the last 6 months or so. If there is not enough or even too much rain the bean harvest can be ruined. Unfortunately there has been an over abundance of rain this year. Some growers were not even able to pick their crops. There livelihood was basically rotten. Others, never even had a crop to harvest because they were washed away.
During the beginning of each new year the bean crop will be exported to surrounding areas. Then we have to pay 2-3 times what we would normally pay each pound we buy. Right now my husband was able to get the “carga” for just under $60. Not bad right?! I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but this staple is what gets us through the year when we can’t afford anything else.
Thank goodness we all love our frijoles! If I go only a few days with out my serving I feel as if I haven’t really eaten. They are a great source of protein and they are affordable!!!
How do you cook them I am asked often. I will try and share some helpful hints, that way you can have yummy frijoles too. We usually cook 3-4 lbs of beans at a time. Surely, I don’t recommend this amount if your not eating beans daily like we do.
For the best results use a crock pot. Beans can be time consuming when cooking on the stove. Not all beans will cook and be nice and tender, but in a crock pot they cook slowly and each morsel is cooked to perfection. So, I have learned to cook them in a crock pot and walk away. It’s wonderful!
I wash my little nuggets of gold and add water to the top of the pot. Unlike when they are boiled on the stove, the water is not evaporated away and I usually don’t have to add much during the cooking process. The beans will expand so you do need enough water for them to not become dry. I add at least: half an onion, half a green pepper, and about 4-6 cloves of garlic. Sometimes I even add a piece of jalapeno pepper, cilantro and/or celery. All of these ingredients just give you wonderful flavor. Now, remember that is for a larger amount of beans that will hopefully last a week. You will want to adjust the amount of these ingredients according to your likes and the amount of beans cooked. I add salt towards the end of the cooking process, maybe towards the last 10-20 minutes or so. Cook your beans until they are soft.
Some helpful hints for handling your beans are as follows:
- Cook until soft
- Add lots of onion, green pepper, and garlic etc (and whatever else you think is yummy!)
- Don’t refrigerate until they are completely cool
- Always use a clean utensil each time you handle them once cooked
Numbers 3 & 4 are very important! If you put your beans in the refrigerator even warm they will spoil. Once you have them stored away and want to eat some the next day always use a clean utensil. Otherwise they will spoil.
If they are not ready until night time, don’t fret – you can leave them out over night to cool. Just boil them again in the morning and then put them in the “refi” once they are completely cooled off.
When there are beans in my house there is always food to eat!
How do you enjoy your beans? Is there another food staple that you enjoy in your home?