I spent the better part of a day peeling beans for our Benin Global Table. This is partially because it takes an eternity to peel beans and partially because my husband became incapacitated by kidney stones. All day we ran around to the doctor, the lab, and the prescription house. I didn’t take my beans with me which, of course, set me back several hours – but prevented me from looking like a crazy woman.
Here’s how to peel beans:
First things first. Soak 2 cups of beans overnight. 2 cups seems like a small, petty, insignificant amount of beans. Think to yourself, “Surely this paltry pile of beans will take no time at all to peel.”
The next day wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to tackle the job.
Stare in disbelief as you realize 2 cups of beans is now 6 cups of beans. Otherwise known as 1,000,000 beans that need peeling.
Grab 2 bowls, 1 for the discarded skins, 1 for the clean beans.
Begin the work of peeling the beans. Some beans will pop out of their skins eagerly. M0st of the beans will stick in their skins and will require a little effort from your fingernails. Your thumb and forefinger will become red and inflamed from repeated pressure on beans.
If you get tired of stubborn beans that won’t release their skins, soak them in hot water for a few minutes.
Now, if you work as fast as I do, you’ll probably do a handful in 5-10 minutes. This slow pace is pretty discouraging. I would recommend watching several movies and enlisting the help of friends, neighbors, cats, dogs, and goldfish.
You can also grab handfuls of beans and rub them between your palms. This might get a few more skins loose. I had mixed luck with this approach.
Next time, invest in a food mill.
Food mills are designed to “peel” beans for you. Although I have a food mill, she is old and crochety. I really dislike using the dang thing and am considering buying a shiny new one that does not fight me with every turn. Hence why I peeled my beans by hand this week.
And now, for your winner.
The real question is who finished first? Me, with the beans, or Keith, with the kidney stone?
Apparently peeling beans isn’t as bad as kidney stones, because I won. He’s still in agony. My thumb and forefinger, on the otherhand, are healing up quite nicely.