• Add a variety of legumes (beans and lentils) to your shopping list: adzuki, cannellini, garbanzos, navy beans, soybeans, and pinto beans, to name a few. With the demand for nutrient-rich, high-fiber recipes and the interest in ethnic cooking, today's stores stock a greater variety of beans and lentils—dry, canned, and frozen. You may find fresh legumes in the produce department and frozen beans in the freezer case.
If the store doesn't carry the type you're looking for, you usually can substitute another. For example, pinto, adzuki, and black beans can substitute for kidney beans, giving a dish a slightly different look. Cannellini, lima beans, and navy beans are the same color, just a different size. Nutritionally, most legumes are about the same, even though their appearance, texture, and flavor may differ somewhat. To explore the varieties of legumes, see "Bean Bag" in chapter 6.
• For freshness, look for these qualities in dry beans:
To keep oil and solids from separating, stabilizers usually are added to peanut butter. However, in "natural" peanut butter, the oil separates out. At home, avoid the urge to make peanut butter lower in fat by pouring that fat away. Your peanut butter will become too stiff to spread. Instead mix it well, or turn the jar upside down to let the oil run through.
• Buy a variety of tree nuts—almonds, cashews, hazlenuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts, among others. Their nutrient and phytonutrient benefits differ, and their fats are mostly polyunsaturated. Be aware that nuts often are sold in salted and unsalted varieties. Unsalted nuts typically are found in the baking aisle; salted nuts, with snack foods.
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