This week I cooked cannellini beans from Coleman Family Farms for a favorite recipe from Joyce Goldstein’s Mediterranean Fresh (cannellini beans with sun dried tomato vinaigrette, pg 193). I may have a hard time buying canned beans again. The taste, the texture, everything was amazingly more delicious.
Yes, it takes time to cook beans from scratch, but the effort is worth every delicious bite. Mostly the issue is thinking ahead. You will always want to soak the beans. In addition to amazing flavor, cooking beans from scratch is one way to hedge against additional doses of Bisphenol A (BPA) found in the linings of most canned foods.
THE CONVENIENCE OF CANNED
Canned beans are a convenient and easy source of low glycemic carbohydrate. I love them, but not the BPA found in the can’s lining. BPA is linked with nasty metabolic consequences including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and infertility in exposed workers. We don’t study the impact of agents that potentially interfere with normal metabolic processes nearly enough. I am working to limit our exposure.
My husband operates a food distribution company and I have long enjoyed the cost savings when he brings home staples like canned beans by the case. Yes, the heat treatment in canning can significantly reduce the vitamin content of these foods, especially heat sensitive vitamins like thiamin. At the same time, our diet is mostly whole foods; I know we get enough of most vitamins and minerals.
THE DANGER OF ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS
Endocrine disruptors like BPA are found in virtually everyone who is screened. 95% of these agents enter our body via the food supply. They bioaccumulate–the more you consume the more you store.
Avoiding plastics is one way to limit exposure. Avoiding canned lining with BPA is another. There are a few brands that package in bisphenol A free cans, including Eden foods and some, but not all, canned products at Trader Joe’s.
Just yesterday I called my husband to replenish our stock of Pomi tomatoes (the tetrapak does not contain bisphenol A). This summer I am seriously considering canning my own.
As for more cannellini beans, Bill told me yesterday that they are done for the season. Next year I will definitely be buying more cannellini beans from Coleman Family Farms.