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Why It’s Important to Sort Your Beans

We tend to get in a hurry these days. I’m just as busy as the next person and do my best to save as much time as possible. However, there are some things for which you cannot take shortcuts. There’s no better example than last night’s dinner.

My husband loves ham and beans. He bought everything needed to make them last week so I could lovingly pressure cook them over the weekend. While he loves my cooking, he’s often expressed disdain for my processes. In particular, he’s never understood why I sort the beans and remove the ones that I consider bad. In his mind, the packing company should do that.

I was sorting the beans as normal when I came across something I’ve seen before but Jim has never witnessed. I found a red rock in my bag of pinto beans. He was aghast when I showed the rock to him and explained such things are the reasons I take my time to carefully examine our beans prior to cooking.

I actually removed several bad or substandard beans from that particular bag. It’s perfectly normal for dry pinto beans to contain rocks and occasionally other bits of debris. If they are sorted and rinsed well before cooking, it’s all good.

Dry pinto beans are an agricultural product that aren’t changed much from the way they came out of their pods. They are simply cleaned, conditioned, and sorted. It’s only natural that a few small rocks will find their way into packaging now and then.

Sorting beans is easy. I grab a small handful in one palm and slide the good ones into a colander one by one while tossing the bad ones into a separate bowl. Once I’ve removed all of the discolored, split, and wrinkled beans along with any rocks, I rinse my beans thoroughly in cold water. Some beans may look a little worse for wear but be fine. Others, like the discolored one below, should be thrown out. I have the bad bean separated from some good ones to show you the difference.

Pinto beans are healthy and economical. I highly recommend eating them often. They’re extremely versatile and delicious. Just be sure to sort, separate, and rinse if you buy dry ones.

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