“Beans, you know, are beautifully shaped, like a new church, like modern architecture, like a planned city” ―
My love affair with Titanium oxalate continues …
In my search for blue, I’ve wanted to try dyeing with black beans again as my first and second attempts failed. The first because I used black beluga lentils instead of black beans. Duh! Both, I suspect because I added Soda Ash as a mordant.
Black Bean Dye
I soaked the beans overnight, using one cup of beans and three cups of cold tap water.
I drained the beans and put them aside for soup.
I divided the liquid (now a lovely dark blue) between two large kilner jars.
I added a teaspoonful of Alum mordant to one jar and a teaspoonful of Titanium oxalate to the other.
I placed an assortment of silks and cottons in each jar with some of the beans on top to keep the fabrics from floating above the level of the dye.
The dye with the alum mordant turned a rich purple-blue.
The dye with the Titanium oxalate mordant turned a sinister shade of blackberry.
I left the jars outside for three days and nights, shaking them up at regular intervals (during the day!) and shifting them around to catch the sun.
After three days I took the fabrics out, rinsed them under cold running water, washed them with organic vegan liquid soap, rinsed and dried them.
The fabrics soaked in the black bean dye with the alum mordant turned a variety of gorgeous blues.
The fabrics soaked in the black bean dye with the Titanium oxalate turned a variety of equally gorgeous subdued greens
Black Bean Soup
The fabrics soaking in the dye jars, I turned my attention to the beans and decided to make a soup from them.
There’s a huge quince tree in the garden hanging low right now with its crop of ripe quinces. I harvested three huge specimens, peeled, cored, chunked them and set them aside in water with a little salt added to prevent discolouration.
I peeled and diced three small red onions, then sautéed them in olive oil until soft.
I added a couple of cloves of crushed garlic towards the end of the sautéing period.
I added a teaspoonful of smoked paprika and the same of cumin.
I chopped a red pepper and added that.
I halved some cherry tomatoes (freshly picked from the plants in the greenhouse) and added those.
I added a tin of organic chopped tomatoes.
I dissolved an organic vegan stock cube in half a pint of boiling water and added that.
I added some sweet potato squares from a pack I had in the freezer.
I added some dried red lentils (no need to pre-soak lentils).
I added the quince.
I added the soaked black beans.
I simmered this for about an hour (until the beans were palatable) adding extra water to achieve the desired consistency.
While the soup was simmering, I made a loaf of French bread (white bread with a nice hard crust) in the bread machine. This took three and a half hours and was baked just in time for us to sit down to dine on the soup.
I wished I’d taken a picture of the soup. It was a lovely autumnal orange colour. Ah, well, next time. It was delicious, tangy from the quince, sweet from the sweet potatoes and smoky from the smoked paprika. Spicy from the cumin. I recommend it. If you can’t get quince, just substitute with apples.
The results of my dyeing experiment were difficult to photograph; the last shows the truest colours. It also shows the radically different results obtained by use of mordants: in this case Alum and Titanium oxalate.
Do I have to remind – folks – not to cook and dye at the same time, using the same pots and pans and utensils? You don’t want to confuse bread flour with Alum powder, do you? And I don’t think Titanium oxalate soup would taste very nice, somehow.
The blue reminds me of the Blue Damsels which haunted the pond in the summer. The greens are the colours of the herbs I’ve dried.
I think I’m on the way to achieving some some good architecture with black beans.
Acknowledgements (in no particular order):