The Legumes

Protein In Seeds
Many foods rich in protein belong to the animal kingdom. The seeds of plants, however, contain protein. The common cereals, wheat and corn, contain almost 10 per cent of protein, while oats contain about 16 per cent. But the dried seeds of legumes exceed all seeds in protein content. Peas, beans, lentils, and peanuts contain more protein than most cuts of meat. About 25 per cent of their composition is protein. Soy-beans are much richer in protein than any of the other legumes. They contain about 37 per cent.

It has been mentioned that proteins differ in quality. Although the dried legumes are especially rich in protein, they do not all contain complete protein. With the exception of peanuts and soy-beans, these foods need to be supplemented with other protein-rich foods such as milk, eggs, and cheese.

Since the dried legumes are a much cheaper source of protein than meat, they should be used oftener than they are. Legumes supplemented with milk or combined with a small quantity of meat furnish economical sources of protein food. The protein in legumes is called "legumin".

Cooking Dried Legumes
The dried legumes should be soaked overnight in water, to which a little baking soda has been added. These vegetables require long cooking to soften them, and also to develop flavor. A little soda added to the water in which they are cooked also aids in softening them and neutralizes the vegetable acid found in some of the legumes. During the long heating, dried legumes break up, if not carefully cooked.

Dried soy-beans have a strong flavor which is objectionable. This can be removed as follows: Soak the beans overnight in a large quantity of hot water, drain, add fresh water and baking soda (about 1 teaspoonful for each cupful of beans), and cook the beans for about 40 minutes, then drain, add more water, and cook until they are tender. Dried soy-beans require long cooking, usually 4 or 5 hours. After the 40-minute cooking, they may be drained, heated in more water, and then placed in a fireless cooker. The pressure cooker may be used effectively in cooking these dried beans.

Soy-beans may also be baked after the 40-minute cooking in the same manner as navy beans (see Boston Baked Beans). Serve cooked soy-beans with Tomato Sauce.

Although dried legumes are comparatively cheap, the fuel required to cook them for so long a time may increase their cost to a considerable extent. In cooking these foods, care should be taken to utilize fuel that is already required for some other purpose. The fireless cooker is most satisfactory in cooking these dried foods.

Boston Baked Beans

2 cupfuls navy beans
2 tablespoonfuls molasses or brown sugar
2 teaspoonfuls salt
2 ounces salt pork or bacon
1/2 teaspoonful mustard

Soak the beans overnight as directed in Cooking Dried Legumes. Add a little baking soda and gradually heat to the boiling point. Then add the seasoning to the beans; place half of them in a bean crock; and add the pork which has been scraped and scored. (To score salt pork cut gashes in it nearly to the rind.) Add the remainder of the beans and enough water to cover them slightly. Bake in a slow oven (250 degrees F.) 6 to 12 hours. Keep the beans below the boiling point and see that they are covered with liquid.

Lentils may be baked in the same way as beans.

How To Cook
A Free Download of How to Cook, based on a Old time Ways.


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  Cooking Notes 2006