About natural Sodium and Salt. A natural source of sodium can be found in most basic vegetables, sodium as we know, will supply flavor. However, adding salt to a dish can be a problem for people with congestive heart disease or hypertension. In general, excessive amounts of processed salt should be avoided. To achieve natural flavor without the need to add table salt, kosher salt, or sea salt, we will use two basic vegetables high in natural sodium like carrots, and celery – in most soups, and stews and when preparing beans. They, along with onions and peppers will supply natural flavor. When onions, carrots, celery and/or peppers are dry sautéed (caramelized) using no oil, the natural flavors are released into the dish along with sodium for flavor. When saluted in oil, the natural flavors cannot escape the coating of oil and adding salt is necessary to flavor the food. These basic vegetables supply the following:
- 1 medium carrot (brushed not peeled) 42mg sodium / 195mg potassium
- 1 stalk celery 51mg sodium / 166mg potassium
- 1 medium onion 4mg sodium / 161 mg potassium
- 1 medium bell pepper 2 to 3mg sodium / 208 mg potassium
Potassium and sodium are electrolytes that help your body support fluid and blood volume so it can function normally. However, consuming too little potassium and too much salt can raise your blood pressure. Though the words “salt” and “sodium” are often used interchangeably, they do not mean the same thing.
Tomatoes and Beans
Most popular soup recipes use either tomatoes or beans as another source of flavor. When tomatoes are called for, always try to use fresh, ripe tomatoes; San Marranos are the best tomatoes in the world. When the recipe calls for beans, home cooked beans should always be your first choice and have better flavor.
Tomatoes and Beans supply the following.
- 1 cup homemade beans 350mg natural sodium
- 1 cup canned beans 750mg processed sodium
- 1 cup fresh tomatoes peeled and seeded 16mg natural sodium
- 1 cup canned tomatoes 390mg processed sodium
Beans have significant amounts of fiber and soluble fiber, with one cup of cooked beans providing between nine and 13 grams of fiber. Soluble fiber can help lower blood cholesterol. Beans are also high in protein, complex carbohydrates, foliate, and iron.
How to Prepare Homemade Beans
Yields: 1½ to 2 cups depending on beans used
Preparation Time: 2½ hours
Equipment: Measuring cups and spoons, 2-quart Saucepan with cover, Kitchen Machine food cutter, French Chef Knife, Cutting Board
- 1 cup dried beans
- 1 small onion, chopped blade #3
- 1 stalk celery, chopped blade #3
- 1 small red pepper, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon fresh chopped or dried thyme
- 1 small bay leaf
- 1 ham hock or 2 strips bacon, optional
- 3 cups chicken broth or homemade chicken stock (see Stocks & Sauces for recipe)
- Rinse and sort beans in purified water, set aside. Clorine in tap water will absorb into the beans and compromise flavor.
In a hot dry 2-quart saucepan over medium heat 275ᵒF, dry sauté onion, red pepper, and garlic until caramelized slightly browned. Place the beans, thyme, bay leaf, ham hock or bacon, if using, in the 2-quart and cover with about 3 inches of chicken stock and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, and cover the pan close the vent and let stand about 1 hour. Do not peek
To resume cooking, check the liquid level in the pan. Be sure the beans are covered by about 1 to 2 inches of liquid. If they have absorbed the liquid, add purified water or chicken stock as needed. Cover the pan, close the vent, and cook over low or medium-low heat 175ᵒF to 200ᵒF until the beans are tender, 1 to 1 ½ hours. Remove the ham hock if used.
Serve the beans as a side dish or use in recipe as needed. Cooked beans can be covered tightly for up to three days or frozen for longer storage.
NUTRITIONAL BREAKDOWN PER ½ CUP SERVING: 132 calories; ½ gram Fat (3% calories from fat); 13½ grams Protein; 23-gram Carbohydrates; 0 mg Cholesterol; 256 mg Sodium.