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Western Nebraska beaniac

May 20, 2010

Here’s something that surprised me in the grocery store here in Scottsing:

In the produce section, there’s always a ginormous plastic-fiber bag cut open for the convenience of the bean-shopping public (such as yours truly). I’ve never seen bulk beans on a scale quite like this before.

If the size of the bag reflects the volume of pinto beans eaten here, with all that fiber, you’d think western Nebraska would have the healthiest colons in the state.

It makes sense to sell beans in this manner. They’re probably locally produced. The Panhandle is the dry edible bean capital of Nebraska, after all. And pinto beans figure prominently in Mexican cuisine, and there are plenty of folks of Mexican descent around here.

And now, on to what you’ve all probably got in your heads right now:

Beans, beans the musical fruit
The more you eat, the more you toot
The more you toot the better you feel
So let’s have beans with every meal

(I think I recall learning that little ditty from my grandpa.)

And, just to throw a little educational value into the mix, some science nerd stuff from Wikipedia:

Many edible beans, including broad beans and soybeans, contain oligosaccharides (particularly raffinose and stachyose), a type of sugar molecule also found in cabbage. An anti-oligosaccharide enzyme is necessary to properly digest these sugar molecules. As a normal human digestive tract does not contain any anti-oligosaccharide enzymes, consumed oligosaccharides are typically digested by bacteria in the large intestine. This digestion process produces flatulence-causing gases as a byproduct. Some species of mold produce alpha-galactosidase, an anti-oligosaccharide enzyme, which humans can take to facilitate digestion of oligosaccharides in the small intestine. This enzyme, currently sold in the U.S. under the brand-name Beano, can be added to food or consumed separately. In many cuisines beans are cooked along with natural carminatives such as anise seeds, coriander seeds and cumin. Other strategies include soaking beans in water for several hours before mixing them with other ingredients to remove the offending sugars. Sometimes vinegar is added, but only after the beans are cooked as vinegar interferes with the beans’ softening. Fermented beans will usually not produce most of the intestinal problems that unfermented beans will, since yeast can consume the offending sugars.

I ♡ beans!

Copyright 2010 by Katie Bradshaw

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 21, 2010 3:19 pm

    Healthy proteins!

  2. Laura permalink
    July 24, 2010 11:39 pm

    sadly not all the bulk beans in the local grocery stores are actually locally grown. 😛 But you can buy the local ones at Kelley Bean (try their Scb. elevator by the old hergert milling place on Ave. B at the crossing) in bulk bags, and they sometimes will toss in a bean cookbook. I buy the 10lb bag ’cause I love that is comes in burlap! It’s only $7, which is cheaper per lb than the grocery bulk bins!

    • Katie Bradshaw permalink*
      July 25, 2010 9:25 pm

      Oooo! Thanks for the tip! I didn’t know about this, and it would be kinda fun to have a burlap bean bag.

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