Michigan black beans are medium to small, oval-shaped beans with a shiny black coat or skin, a small white eye or spot (called a “keel,”) a creamy white interior, and a pleasant mushroom-like flavor which some cooks have described as “earthy” or “meaty.”
According to the Michigan Bean Commission, Michigan is internationally known as an excellent supplier of high-quality dry beans. With rich, well-drained, loamy soil, the climate, moderate daytime temperatures, and cool evenings are suited for bean production. Michigan is the top state in the production of Black Beans, Cranberry Beans, and Small Red Beans. IN 2019 Michigan ranked third behind Minnesota and North Dakota in overall bean production.
Mexico is Michigan’s largest export market, largely made up of but not limited to high-quality Michigan black beans. In Michigan’s Upper Thumb, the town of Kinde was once known as the bean capital of Michigan.
Farmers have found that dry bean crops like black and kidney beans are reliably profitable. However, bean growers have long-term capital investment in specialized harvest equipment. Besides, there is no subsidization by the U.S. farm program, and they are susceptible to damage from wet weather, which has been prevalent in Michigan. Thus it’s considered a higher risk commodity but can yield high profits. It’s considered a good yield at 2,500 pounds per acre
How to Cook Dry Michigan Black Beans
Dry beans must be soaked before being cooked to bring out their inherent sweetness and taste. The procedure is straightforward and offers superb flavor and attractive beans! There are two techniques for soaking beans and preparing them for cooking with your favorite recipe.
The Overnight Method: Add 3 cups of cold water to each cup of dried beans in a big saucepan (or 6 cups for each pound.) Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Rinse and drain the beans.
The Quick Method: Add 3 cups of boiling water to each cup of dried beans in a big saucepan (or 6 cups for each pound.) Bring to a boil and cook the beans for 2 minutes on medium heat. Allow the beans to stand for 1 hour, covered. Rinse and drain the beans.
After soaking the beans in either technique, cook them for 1 to 2 hours, or until tender. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to simmering water to avoid foam or froth.
Best Tips for Dealing With Gas
Beans can produce flatulence due to natural compounds known as oligosaccharides. These are sugar molecules with a molecular makeup that makes them difficult to digest at times. They are transported to the lower intestine without being broken down and cause painful gas. Fortunately, the gas-producing effects of beans may be reduced by following a few easy steps:
- Invest in the most recent crop of dry beans. The fresher the bean, the less likely you will have stomach issues.
- Always soak and drain your beans before cooking. The more oligosaccharides are released into the soaking water, the longer the beans are soaked. Before cooking, drain and rinse the beans, reserving the soaking water.
- Beano, a commercial natural enzyme product, breaks down the complex carbohydrates in beans, making them simpler to digest.