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Most of us know to rinse our beans, right? My mom taught me that when I was younger. She’d always warn me to be on the look out for little pebbles that may have gotten in the mix. This was good advice, although I think I’ve actually only found 2 little stones in my lifetime of cooking beans.

What most of us may not know is that soaking beans is crucial in the preparation process of cooking beans; it’s crucial to US and our digestive systems! Have you noticed that ‘scum’ that surfaces when soaking and/or boiling beans? Well, in case you were wondering what that is exactly, let me tell you!  It’s anti-nutrients such as phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. These are what causes us to experience gas, bloating, agita (reflux), heartburn and all other digestive discomfort, after eating a bowl of beans. What a cruel price to pay for enjoying something so tasty and nutritious! My mom cooked lots of beans for us children when we were growing up. I guess since they were inexpensive, full of protein & fiber, AND delicious, it was a good choice! The downside? I farted all the time (this was double trouble for me, since I had gluten, egg, & dairy intolerances and never even knew it!) –  can you imagine what I went through!? But we kids made the best out of it, we used to have contests – the loudest, longest, etc. Even though we made fun with it, I have to say it was uncomfortable and embarrassing, especially at school.

This is where soaking comes in. Soaking will help eliminate these anti-nutrients before cooking. I don’t think my mom ever soaked her beans. There are a couple different ways to soak or ‘pre-soak’ your beans. I suggest the overnight version and add baking soda to the water – this ensures de-gassing at the maximum level. I’ve also heard of adding apple cider vinegar or even lemon juice to the water while soaking. Although I have never tried these two ways, I bet they work just as well!

Go ahead, try natural remedies to de-gas your beans and say good-bye to your gas products!

After soaking for 24 hours, rinse very well and until all the scum has been washed away. Add beans to a pot of fresh, cool water and bring to a boil, removing any other scum that may surface. Lower heat to a simmer and season as desired – I prefer to add fresh garlic cloves and sea salt. What always amazes me is that most bean packaging will suggest cooking them for an hour, maybe two at most. However, I cook my beans for at least 4 hours before they are ready to eat.

A delicious bean recipe I like to make; fully cooked cannellini beans added to sautéed zucchini and spinach, seasoned with garlic, sea salt and pepper! Mmmm!

Beans, beans good for your heart!

Non-toot’n love to you!

Mary

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