Soaking dried beans or legumes in water first, helps with dissolving the raffinose sugars that can cause discomfort in the digestive system. Rinsing the beans after soaking and draining any water after cooking will further help to reduce the sugars as well.
Here are some steps you can take to reducing the raffinose sugars, a complex carbohydrate found in most in most dried beans.
This type of sugar is also found in cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and asparagus, among other vegetables, and including whole grains.
The California Dry Bean Advisory Board recommend this method for gas-free beans.
- Place 1 pound of beans in 10 cups of boiling water for 2-3 minutes
- Remove from heat, cover and set aside overnight
Soaking the beans overnight helps to remove or dissolve between 75 to 90 percent of the indigestible raffinose sugars.
If you want, you can add 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda to the soaking water to help remove the raffinose sugars as well.
After soaking the beans, drain them of the water, then rinse thoroughly. Now your beans are ready to be cooked.
When cooking the beans, you can add any herbs and spices, but do not add any salt or acidic ingredients, like vinegar, tomatoes or juice, which can considerably slow the cooking time. Add these ingredients when the beans are done cooking.
When cooking your beans you can use either water, or a stalk made from vegetables, beef or chicken.
Cooking times will vary depending on the type of beans you will be using. Most cooks will tell you that dried lentils or split peas do not require soaking, but they do require sorting and rinsing.
Keep in mind that cooking lentils in too much liquid, or over cooking them, will make them mushy. They should only be cooked for 20 minutes or until tender.
How to Use Cooked Beans
Dried beans when cooked are very versatile, and although they have different flavors and textures, they can often be used interchangeably in recipes.
Cooked beans can be used to make soups, added as a topping to vegetable salads, add to cooked rice, couscous or pasta salads for texture.
Here are some of our featured recipes using cooked beans.
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