Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Years ago, on one of our shopping excursions, my sister-in-law Jean and I discovered cranberry beans at Big Bear.. We both bought a bag and cooked them. Cranberry beans soon became one of my family's favorite. After Big Bear went out of business, it became difficult to find them; K-Mart carried them for awhile. Whenever one of us would locate the beans, an APB (or "APBB", as Les remarked!) alert would go out. Last week, Jean called and said that Kroger had them. She and I bought all the bags that were on the shelf!
As well as being healthful, and economical, cranberry beans are also aesthetically pleasing. The bean has cranberry-colored striping on an off-white background. They have a nutty flavor, compared to navy beans. I have found several interesting recipes on the internet. I have piqued the interest of several of my friends, but not enough to share my stash of beans. Our larder is full and Les exclaimed, "No more beans until I put them on the list; these will expire; you have enough to last a year!"
Cranberry beans are also known as "October beans" because, unlike most beans, they are harvested in the fall, rather than in the summer. Other names include "shelly beans", "horticultural beans", "French horticulture beans", "wren's eggs", "bird egg beans", and "speckled beans"; in Italy, they are known as "borlotti". An interesting note: nearly all borlotti beans used in Italy are imported from the United States.
I like a variety in meals and I plan the meals each month and we do not prepare the same dinner entrees in a month; once a month we have some kind of bean soup. We like beans so much, we have a rating system for soup beans:
1. LIMA BEAN SOUP
2. PINTO BEAN SOUP
3. NAVY BEAN SOUP
4. CRANBERRY BEAN SOUP
5. 15-BEAN SOUP
6. GREAT NORTHERN BEAN SOUP
7. BUTTER BEAN SOUP
8. BLACK BEAN SOUP
Those are my preferences; Gerald likes 15-bean soup the best and doesn't like lima bean soup.
So, when you were a kid, did you recite the MIRACLE FRUIT jingle?
"Beans, beans, the miracle fruit,
The more you eat, the more you toot,
The more you toot, the better you feel,
So why don't you eat them every meal?"
When I was a youngster, my mother did the laundry on Mondays and every Monday she would cook beans, because a pot of beans did not require much tending. When the wringer washer, washboard, and hanging out clothes on the line were replaced by the modern conveniences of a washer and dryer, then she seldom cooked beans. A pot of beans and cornbread became a treat!
Oftentimes, on the second day, Mother would put "dumplins" in the leftover beans. Grandpa called the leftover, second day dumplins, "daddlins".
At school, our meals were usually good, but when the school cooks fixed beans, they were hard and never "done"! We called them "bullets"!
Oh, how did we ever tolerate each other without BEANO? Les calls it the MIRACLE PILL!