Letter Re: The Easy Storage Survival Harvest

I have minor additions to Minnesota Rose’s excellent post on which storable foods have the most nutrition and food value. 

In looking for which plants have the most protein, the HealthAliciousNess web site has very good information on the highest protein fruits (dried apricots, I was happy to see), vegetables (sun dried tomatoes, surprisingly), and beans and legumes. 

The protein content of beans and legumes varies from a low of 11 percent for pigeon peas to a high of 28 percent for soybeans.  These are cooked percentages, which are much lower than dry percentages because of the additional water; i.e. cooked soy is 28 percent, but dry roasted soy is 40 percent.  Soybeans were the highest; adzukis, lentils and white beans have 17 percent protein; cranberry beans have 16 percent; pintos and black beans 15 percent, and lima beans 14 percent. 

If you are interested in soy, the black soybeans have by far the best flavor, are tender, cook fastest, and work well in chili, bean soup, etc., and have no bitter taste at all.  Black Jet, available from Johnny Seeds in the United States, or from Salt Spring Seeds in Canada, are usually considered to be the best tasting of the black soybeans, and grow well in both northern and southern gardens.  Brown and green are next best in flavor, yellow soybeans are bitter, and best used for livestock. – Mary M.

JWR Replies: Don’t forget that you can easily sprout soy beans in your kitchen. Soya sprouts are tasty and very nutritious. Because the process of sprouting adds vitamins, it is an important adjunct to any food storage program. Here at the Rawles Ranch, we formerly used sprouting trays, but we’ve switched to sprouting in Mason jars, using stainless steel mesh lids. We’ve found that these are more compact, less messy, and quicker to use than trays. The trick to successful sprouting is changing the water frequently, and the Mason jar sprouting method makes this very easy.