There will be times when hunting and catching wild game will be out of the question. You will have to find another source of protein to keep a balanced diet during a crisis. When game is scarce, beans arise as the next best source of protein. You should know the following about beans and consider adding this protein alternative to your survival pantry.
Beans have many health benefits, they have a cheap price and you can grow them in your garden without much hassle. Some preppers know about the benefits of beans and are already stockpiling these legumes like there is no tomorrow. You might not feel comfortable about eating them for a long period of time, but the following fundamentals should convince you to get them into your diet sooner than later.
Beans a good source of amino acids
Proteins are fundamental for a survival diet and they are known to build muscle and strength. While meats and nuts also provide such protein, beans are a cheaper alternative. Cheap doesn’t mean a lack in quality. Many nutritionists will tell you that these legumes are a great substitute for animal products. You should know that proteins are made from amino acids, nine of which are essential amino acids. Your body needs these essential amino acids, but it cannot make them on its own. Therefore, you need a diet that will provide your body with all it needs. Beans contain most, but not all, of the amino acids.
The good news is that grain products such as rice or wheat contain the essential amino acids that beans are missing. Eating grains and beans will provide the body with all the protein it would need when game is not available. When it comes to your survival pantry, you should really mix it up. Adding grains and beans is a good start and it will not drastically affect your budget. Quick tip: add quinoa in your survival pantry because it is a grain that is a complete protein (contains all the essential amino acids).
Beans are tasty (if you’re not a bad cook)
Many complain that beans are a dull food and they will sustain food fatigue after a certain amount of time. Flavor is an important part of every diet and if you are forced to eat the same foods over and over again, you will turn to eating tree bark rather than touching your food pantry ever again. Retaining the flavor of beans becomes an imperative part of the entire process of storing them.
You should know that adding salt and acidic foods like vinegar or lemon should be a final step, after cooking is complete. This will ensure that the beans remain tender for eating rather than turning tough and losing their flavor. Even more, to substantially add to their taste, you should try adding herbs or seasonings such as thyme or dried peppers. Quick tip: make sure you add dry herbs in your survival pantry as it will help enhance the flavor of most foods.
Related reading: Drying and storing herbs
Bean soaking will do you good
Beans are known to cause flatulence and the idea of sharing a shelter or bunker with a few other people that had a diet containing mostly beans is not a happy thought. Bean soaking is a process recommended by many and it helps in various ways. First, it helps the cooking process and it allows shorter cooking times(cuts it by as much as 70%). Second, it helps to preserve the most nutrients so that you get the benefits of all the proteins vitamins and minerals, and it will maximize their food value. And third, soaking these legumes will remove the indigestible complex sugars (oligosaccharides) from the outer coating of the beans, and this will minimize gas.
Soaking can be done in two ways: you can soak them in water for six to eight hours or you can do a quick soak and get it over with it faster. The quick soak is done by bringing the dried beans and water to a boil for two or three minutes, removing them from the heat and allowing these legumesto soak for two hours. Regardless the method you will be using, draining and rinsing the beans is an important step and it will not ruin your recipe.
Nutritional value of beans
Bens provide nutrients like calcium, carbohydrates, copper, fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, protein, selenium and zinc. They can help the improvement of the overall health of a prepper. In order to preserve these nutrients it is important that you do not add any sodium bicarbonate to the water when soaking the legumes. This will prevent the sodium bicarbonate from braking down thiamin. Although dry beans vary considerably in flavor, size, color and shape, their natural composition is strangely similar. They are low in fat(less than 2% of the total content), high in fiber and packed with protein.
Health benefits of beans
These legumes promote good future health due to their essential supplements and according to various studies conducted by the U.S Dry Bean Council, by having the necessary nutrients, beans are able to help build and repair bones. They will maintain energy, relieve constipation, regulate blood sugar, keep the heart rhythm steady and metabolize fats and carbohydrates. In recent studies, it was also shown that beans allow for adequate growth, regulate thyroid functions and overall, strengthen the immune system.
Beans for your survival pantry
Here are the several varieties suggested for consumption by the U.S Dry Bean Council:
- Baby Lima
- Dark Red Kidney
- Great Northern
- Large Lima
- Light Red Kidney
- Yellow eye
Beans for long-term storage
When building a survival pantry, one will opt for foods that have a long shelf life and if you’re the same type, you can’t go wrong with beans. Like most stored foods, beans should be stored in the absence of oxygen and light. Legumes stored in polyethylene food grade bags have a shelf life of two years or more. Vacuumed Mylar type bags in combination with desiccants will increase the shelf life of beans to ten years or more. Going with plastic buckets, Mylar bags and desiccants is my recommendation. Samples that had been stored using this combination in the 90s had a greater than 80% acceptance by a consumer taste panel for emergency food use.
Suggested reading: Food storage mistakes that people should avoid
A large supply of dried beans can keep many people fed. It’s an inexpensive choice when compared to other foods available on the survival market. They are recommended to be stored in your survival pantry because these legumes will help you stay fit and healthy during a long-term disaster. These legumes can also be carried in your bug-out bag and are a versatile food that can be cooked in many ways. Beans are one of the best all-round survival foods and you should already have some in your survival pantry.
Article written by Rhonda Owen for Prepper’s Will.
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