Sweet Peas


2 pounds fresh sweet peas in pods, or 1 pound shelled
sweet peas (fresh or frozen)
Shell peas by removing the stem end of the pod, then peel
the fibrous string from the seam, open the pod, and run a
thumb along the interior, scooping out the peas and
discarding the pods. Place peas (fresh or frozen) in a
steamer basket and set in a pot filled with 1 to 2 inches of
simmering water. Cover and steam for 2 to 3 minutes, until
peas turn a bright green color. Uncover and remove from
heat to let the peas cool down, reserving cooking liquid.
Place cooked peas in a blender or food processor and
puree, and, if necessary, add reserved cooking liquid (about
½ cup), until desired consistency is reached.
Pour the puree into a freezer tray and cover with plastic
wrap or waxed paper. Place the freezer tray in the freezer
for 24 hours, or until completely set, then transfer frozen
cubes from the freezer tray into a labeled freezer storage
Shelling fresh sweet peas will add extra time to the
Amazing Make-Ahead Strategy timeline; use frozen
shelled peas to avoid adding extra time.
Dried Beans
Dried beans are shelled beans that are harvested after
the pods and beans inside have completely dried. Dried
beans can be purchased dried or canned (already
cooked). Canned beans are nutritionally equivalent to
dried beans that are cooked at home and are
significantly more convenient. Puree recipes for both
canned beans and dried beans are provided here;
however, canned beans should be used to
accommodate the time frame of the Amazing Make-
Ahead Strategy. Preparing dried beans at home requires
a significant amount of time. Dried beans can generally
all be prepared the same way.
When shopping for canned beans, look for those with low or no
salt added. Always rinse canned beans well to remove any
sodium that may be present. Also, choose beans packed in cans
with BPA-free liners, identified as such by a statement on the
label. Eden Organic is a brand that packs beans in BPA-free lined
cans. Their beans also have no salt added, and they are cooked
with kombu (see below). Canned beans can be stored for up to
five years.
If shopping for dried beans, select beans that are uniform in size
and color, with a firm surface. Avoid beans that are broken or
wrinkled. Dried beans can be purchased prepackaged or in the
bulk section of some supermarkets. Dried beans can keep for up
to one year if stored properly. For optimal shelf life, dried beans
should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry location,
such as a cabinet or pantry. Beans exposed to high
temperatures or humidity may not cook well. Beans that are too
old will take longer to cook or may not soften at all. Dried beans
always need to be soaked before preparing. Soaking not only
rehydrates the beans (accelerating cooking time) but also
dissolves gas-producing starches (oligosaccharides) that make
bean digestion difficult for some people. The soaking method
developed by the California Dry Bean Board is incorporated in
the recipe provided here. Always discard the soaking water
before cooking, as the water contains most of the dissolved
indigestible starches.
Kombu is a sea vegetable that can be added during the cooking
process of beans to decrease naturally present gas-producing
compounds. Kombu can be found in the Asian section of the
supermarket, next to other seaweeds. Most beans have a fairly
neutral flavor and creamy texture that combine well with many
other foods (see Flavor Compatibility Guide). Beans are a go- to
source of protein to incorporate into meals, especially for
vegetarian diets.

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