Everything you want to know about beans (plus, a pink-slime update)

Dried-bean workshop teaches planting, seed-saving, cooking

Bean extravaganza!
Kalan Redwood, of Manton-based Redwood Seeds (certified-organic, open-pollinated, heirloom, non-GMO), will join with the folks from GRUB on Apr. 14 in the Gateway Science Museum‘s lovely Sustainability Garden to present a workshop on dried beans called “Full of Beans: A Legume Extravaganza.”

“Beans offer a valuable source of protein and nutrition in a small homestead or urban garden,” Redwood wrote in a recent email. “Learn the ins and outs of planting, seed saving, harvesting and cooking.” Part of the class will include a taste test featuring many varieties of dried beans, including pretty Tiger’s Eye and striking, black-and-white Orca beans.

The workshop will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. and is free, but attendees must pay museum admission: $5 for adults, $3 for kids (museum members get in free). The Gateway Science Museum is located at 625 The Esplanade. For more info, contact Redwood at info@redwoodseeds.net or call 524-5537.

Check out www.redwoodseeds.net for more about Redwood Seeds’ wide-ranging seed selection (including beans, dried and otherwise).

Beans, beans—the magical legume!

Helping Pakistan, cont.
In last week’s column, I wrote about the Glow of Hope Project fundraiser—raising money for a women’s school in Pakistan—that I attended. At it, I had the opportunity to peruse an interesting cookbook called Quick Healthy Recipes (pictured), compiled by local author Gayle Kimball, which is being sold as a fundraiser for another worthy Pakistan-based cause, the Open Doors Literacy Project (ODLP). Kimball co-founded ODLP with Hassan Saeed, a Pakistani university student and literacy teacher.

Saeed “travels to villages in the suburbs of Peshawar, Pakistan, to teach a 100-day course in basic Urdu literacy and numeracy,” says the ODLP website (head to www.opendoorsliteracyproject.weebly.com for more info). “Each class meets six days a week for two hours in a home volunteered for the purpose, since most of the villages have no school.”

“With no administrative costs [Saeed is the lone teacher], the funds go to workbooks, transportation and Hassan’s salary, which helps with his college tuition,” wrote Kimball in a recent email. “Some of the students are also involved in microfinance projects to raise money and use their new literacy skills.”

The cookbook, which is loaded with healthful, easy-to-prepare recipes (such as an intriguing raw-foods cake using ground almonds as “flour") is available at S&S Organic Produce & Natural Foods (1924 Mangrove Ave., 343-4930) and 100th Monkey Books (830 Broadway, 894-8115).

Pink slime (aka “boneless lean beef trimmings” or “lean finely textured beef,” as the meat industry labels it) is staying in the news. The now-infamous, controversial stuff that is “made from fatty bits of leftover meat that are heated, spun to remove the fat, compressed into blocks and exposed to ammonia to kill bacteria,” as MSNBC.com‘s The Bottom Line described it, was the subject of a recent “swap meat” at Southern California-based supermarket chain Fresh & Easy. The chain offered customers a chance to trade in pink-slime-containing ground beef bought from competitors for Fresh & Easy’s slime-less ground beef.

“We’ve had an incredible response,” Fresh & Easy spokesman Brendan Wonnacott was quoted as telling MSNBC.com. “It’s not about the cost [to the company], it’s about the opportunity for customers to get ground beef they know they can trust and learn about us.”