Beans, peas and lentils are legumes. They are very nutritious because lentils have a high protein content.
Adding butter, fatback, smoked ham to legumes allows many nutritious and delicious meals to be prepared. Beans are usually tastier than peas and lentils. Beans can be white or colored, and comes in different sizes. Quality beans are not damaged, shiny and uniform in color and size.
Quality peas are large, almost the same size, and color is either white, yellow or green. Split peas are also sold, they contain less fiber and are cooked quicker.
For lentils, just like for beans and peas, size and uniformity are important, as well as green color.
Prepared legumes can be served as a separate dish or as garnish for meat or fish.
Before cooking, legumes should be picked and thoroughly washed. In order to ensure that legumes boil quicker and more uniformly, soak them in cold water for 3 – 4 hours.
Legumes should not be soaked for too long, especially in a warm room, or they might turn sour.
Water acquires an unpleasant taste after legumes, especially bean, have been soaked in it, so pour the water out. Boil soaked beans in fresh unsalted water. Salt is added towards the end of cooking, since legumes take longer to prepare in salted water. Hardness of water also affects preparation time: beans are cooked considerably longer in hard water than in soft water.
Included are several recipes for legume dishes.
Recipes for soups and appetizers made with legumes are found in corresponding sections of the book.