I have spent quite a lot of time preparing some kidney beans to put in a chilli tonight- soaked them overnight, then boiled them getting the froth off the top and then left them to simmer for ages- all quite a lot of faff when I could have opened a tin. Do you think some canned things are just as good? I'm especially thinking of things like kidney beans, chickpeas and tinned tomatoes.
Some things I think are definitely better fresh, like veg (apart from frozen peas) and coriander and basil for example, but sometimes things are better dried, like chillis in some curries.
Just wondering if anyone knew which things you can use that taste just as good?
I've never soaked a lentil, kidney bean or chickpea, I always get the tins. Tinned tomatoes every time (unless I'm doing a salsa or paella). I do prefer fresh chillis, garlic and ginger but I have the 'lazy' varieties in the cupboard, just in case. Don't do frozen veg - except peas. I keep the usual dried herbs, the only fresh ones I use are basil coriander & parsley. I pretty much cook fresh with (sometimes) prepared ingredients that don't have crap added to them.
I don't have a problem with tinned tomatoes or some frozen veg. I do think that fresh herbs are always better than dried but dried are far far better than nothing.
I find that dried and fresh chillies are quite different and both have their uses. Chefs say with bay leaves it makes little difference whether fresh or frozen. As for other herbs, fresk if I'm cooking for others, dried if just for me so they don't go off. I echo the frozen peas thing although I get fresh when they are in season. I always use tinned beans (not lentils) though, as they taste fine and are much quicker. However, I had a disatrous attempt at making hummous with tinned chickpeas - dried and soaked are the way to go there.
I hate frozen carrots so always try and use fresh, I have been known to buy frozen peppers though, purely because I'm the only one in the house who likes them and I can't tell the difference once they've been roasted or stir fried
I'm a fairly dedicated foodie. My own rule of thumb is tinned beans and pulses are fine, although you can get a slightly better result soaking and cooking your own with herbs and aromatics. rad - I like my hummous which uses tinned chick peas. My recipe includes tahini and I have to be aggressive with the garlic, chilli, lemon and seasoning. Maybe your recipe wasn't ideal for tinned which I find very bland in their own right.
Frozen veg (except peas) a definate no no.
I only use fresh garlic, ginger (hand sliced or MicroPlane professional'ed!), lemon & lime juice.
When it comes to Chilies, virtually all fresh, although some dried in certain dishes to give another dimension of heat.
Herbs. On the whole I find dried and fresh might as well be different plants the taste is so radically different, I use mostly fresh herbs either from my garden, supermarket or market stall. Odd time I use dried is in things like fajitas, pasta sauce etc. I freeze any fresh that aren't getting used up and while they get a bit watery and dull in colour, the flavour is still reasonable and a mile off dried.
Tomatoes it depends on the use. Pasta/pizza/curry/fajita sauce I use cartons of Passata. Most other things I use fresh and not the generic salad ones that barely have a taste! Everyone with taste buds that work should avoid them imo!
I think it's good to do proper trials yourself. i.e next time buy tinned Kidney beans and see if you think they are as good. After all you're the one that's making and eating it!
In regards Chilli con carne, for me the flavour comes from the other ingredients which overpower any subtlety in the kidney bean taste anyway so I use tinned for that.
A haricot bean mash might be a different story ;)
Hmmm I won't bother with the kidney beans again that's for sure. I think it's because I've had two amazing curries before, one kidney bean and one chickpea and am always trying to recreate them if possible! My friend who did the chickpea one said you should use dried but I see what's being said about if it's a minor ingredient not to bother.
Some interesting tips. Unfortunately I haven't got a freezer so it's fridge tinned or fresh only!