We’ve probably all heard the little ditty about beans at one point or another in our lives, but if you’ve never heard it, I’ll give you a sample now.
Beans, Beans, the musical fruit
The more you eat, the more you toot
The more you toot, the better you feel
So lets have beans for every meal.
There’s also this version:
Beans, Beans, they’re good for your heart
The more you eat, the more you….
Maybe I shouldn’t share that version, but according to the American Heart Association, beans are good for your heart.
Beans are an amazing and inexpensive food source. They are extremely versatile, and there are many health benefits associated with beans, but they are often over looked. Americans are willing to spend tons of money buying exotic seeds and powders in an attempt to improve the nutritional content of their diets, while the humble (and inexpensive) bean is right in front of them all the time. People really need to learn to love legumes.
Beans are loaded with protein and fiber, and they really are a super food. Most people don’t realize that eating the humble bean can help to lower the risk for heart disease, decrease the risk for certain types of cancer, help with weight control, and help stabilize blood sugar. For the cost of a dollar or less per pound for dried beans, they are one of the best low fat proteins available on the market. I realize that beans aren’t touted as an aphrodisiac, but with all of these health benefits, why don’t more people eat them? After all, beans really are a health food.
The reason most people give for not eating beans is that beans cause them considerable gastrointestinal distress in the form of gas. Studies show that people who eat beans on a regular basis have less gas than those who eat them only occasionally. Nevertheless, most people don’t want to deal with the embarrassment of this side effect even while their bodies adjust to eating beans. That is where degassing beans comes in. I have tried several methods for degassing, and none have worked well for me until now.
The baking soda method seemed to result in more gas in the members of our household. It didn’t seem to matter whether we drained off the soda water or not. Neither method really worked. Soaking beans overnight didn’t really seem to make a difference for use, but the truth is that I seldom plan far enough ahead when making beans to remember to soak them overnight. Besides, the parboil method worked well for my grandmother who died in her 90’s. (I’ll describe that later.)
Our degassing method was the result of an accident. I was preparing to cook some beans for dinner. I had parboiled and drained the beans and covered them with fresh water. The beans had just come to a boil when I was unexpectedly called away from home. I turned off the heat, covered the pan containing the beans, and left the house. When I returned an hour later, I resumed cooking the beans, and we ate them. It was after the second night of eating the beans that I realized I hadn’t been gassy. I inquired with other people who had eaten the beans and they confirmed that they, too, had been unaffected by the usual flatulence. I made beans my regular way, and once again, people were gassy. The next time I cooked them, I let them sit on the stove for an hour with the heat turned off , and there was no significant increase in gas from eating beans. I had accidentally discovered how to degas beans.
Who knew? Actually, it turned out that several people knew. They were actually able to describe the chemical process that took place in the beans that eliminated the gas.
Here’s how you cook beans from scratch, including the degassing process.
Beans come to us from the field, and though there is considerable effort to ensure that they are clean, it is important to look the beans over, or “look” them, prior to cooking them to remove any broken beans or rocks that might be inside of the bag. Pour the beans onto a clean/dry surface so that you can “look” them. I used a dinner plate and looked the beans while seated at the dining room table.
I pulled the beans forward into small groups and dropped them into the cooking pot, removing any questionable items and setting them to the side. (My finger looks 10 pounds heavier in that photo. Yuck!)
When I had finished, I had a small pile of broken beans and one rock. The broken beans probably wouldn’t have hurt anyone, but that rock could have broken a tooth. (I can’t believe how fat my finger looks. I’m putting it on a diet.)
Cover the beans with 2-3 inches of water. The general ratio of beans to water is 1:3 or one cup of beans to 3 cups of water. After preparing beans a few times, you won’t have to measure. Put the pot on the stove over medium heat and bring to a boil. Allow the pot to boil for two to five minutes, then turn off the heat. Let the beans sit for one hour, then drain the cooking liquid. Cover with fresh water, add desired seasonings, and cook until tender. For cooking times for the specific type of bean you are cooking click HERE. (The degassing method described here takes the place of soaking the beans, so disregard the soaking times on the page.) On this day, I made a navy bean soup, but the options for recipes containing beans are endless. Give them a try.
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