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Shelling Beans Contain A Treasure Chest Of Nutrition
What are shelling beans?
Shelling beans, like all other beans, fall under the legume umbrella. Legumes are a high-protein, low-fat source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
Unlike other beans, such as green beans, shelling beans have pods that must be removed before the beans can be cooked or dried. Shelling beans should be easy to shell, and are usually harvested when the pods and the beans inside are dry and plump, and the pod looks as if it is about to burst. Shelling beans are very seasonal, but the dried version can be sold throughout the year, to extend the somewhat short season.
If you are keen to have shelling beans in the fresh state, there are always numerous varieties at farmer’s markets during late summer and early fall.
Fresh shelling beans can be shelled, dried and stored for later use, or shelled and cooked fresh for a seasonal treat, and added to soups, stews, or salads.
How to choose the best fresh shelling beans
Fresh shelling beans are not easy to get. The season is also on the short side, starting around July to September in warmer climates, or up to October in colder areas.
When you buy shelling beans, they need to be just a little dried out when you purchase them, but look for those with a fresh-looking green stem end.
Buy pods with plump, fat beans inside that feel heavy for their size. They are the ideal ones to choose!
Unfortunately, you will not find many stores that sell fresh shelling beans, as most offer them already shelled and dried. For the delicious fresh beans, you will have visit farmer’s markets, or specialist market and produce stores.
How to store fresh shelling beans
It is a good idea to buy as much as you can when they are available, as these beans are easy to store.
If you are going to use them within a couple of days, simply keep them in the fridge in their pods until you need them. However, if you plan to keep them in the fridge for 3 or 4 days before use, shell the beans before refrigeration.
Most varieties of shelling beans, once shelled, are absolutely ideal for freezing. The best way to do this is to lay the beans out on a baking sheet, and freeze until frozen through. Transfer the amounts you will want to cook into sealable plastic bags and they will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Once defrosted, the beans will be ready to cook and taste as fresh as the day you bought them.
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