Black-eyed peas are part of the vegetable food group. They contain the same nutrition of common beans. They are rich in protein that helps the body develop muscles. They are also rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, potassium and folate. They can help regulate bodily functions. These beans are also considered low-calorie, high fiber foods. They can be used by people who have weight management issues.
There are basically two commercially-available types of these beans in the market: the dried, and the canned. The dried type of these beans can be directly sourced from the farm. The beans, therefore, contain little to no artificial chemicals. The only problem with dried beans is that it must be soaked in water for an extended amount of time (about six or more hours), before cooking. The canned type, on the other hand, had the beans already processed and packed. There is no need to soak it at all.
Be aware of the fact, however, that canned products may contain some kind of preservatives to prolong their shelf life. Preservatives, though, can shorten your own. Canned-type beans usually contain more sodium than their dried counterparts. Sodium is commonly found in salt, and salt is usually a major ingredient for preservatives. An average consumer consumes almost twice the recommended daily amount of sodium a day. A high-sodium diet can lead to high-blood pressure, heart failure and kidney diseases.
The beans are immersed in combined salt and water mixture, and the result is then stored into the can. Some canned beans may also contain additional ingredients. It may contain sugar, animal fat and calcium chloride:
- Sugar – corn syrup and other sweeteners to produce sweeter beans; contains also higher calories
- Animal fat – uses saturated fat for frying the beans; it is not an option, however, for vegetarians
- Calcium chloride – a common firming agent; it does not affect the canned product’s nutritional value
The buyer must be aware of the contents of canned beans. He must be doubly careful if the family members are health conscious, or are mindful about their blood pressures. Just limit the amount salt in recipes to balance out the sodium content found in canned foods. If possible, do not add salt to the meal anymore. This must be done in order to moderate or control the family’s sodium intake.
Of course, there is an alternative to that – small batch, hand filled and hand processed beans that have a shorter life than traditional old-style beans. These are mainly in glass jars and to avoid the sodium addition, they also come in combinations with other ingredients. One of these ingredients is Tahini, a sesame paste that is widely used in the Mediterranean. This eliminates or minimises the use of sodium and you get just the full goodness of the beans and the tahini as well.