Soaking Dry Beans Before Cooking

I have heard before that if you soak dry beans overnight, then rinse & drain, cooking in fresh water, it will help with the, um… gassy after-effect. I have never tried it before,just tossed them in a pot and cooked them, like my mother did. Last night, I decided to try it, and did the soak, I now have a pot of beans with a smoked hamhock tossed in. It smells HEAVENLY.

I am just wondering if this really works. Any experience? I guess I’ll have my own experience to report later tonight… :stuck_out_tongue:

Soaking alone won’t necessarily reduce the gas effect, which comes from certain sugars being processed by bacteria in the GI tract.

Soaking is pretty much essential to get a good cooked consistency from the beans, though - there are quick-soak techniques, but none I’ve ever tried produced a satisfactory result.

Soaking with a few teaspoons of baking soda in the water is said to reduce gas-producing qualities.

Soaking removes a lot of starches, and that helps some people. I’ve heard that if you eat beans more frequently the intestinal bacteria will adjust for more ‘efficient’ digestion. Or just take those pills.

A cook friend of mine recommends this:

Fartless Beans
• Bring water that is three times the volume of the dry beans to a boil (roughly 6 cups per pound of beans)
• Don’t forget that the beans will expand, so use a large enough pot!
• Add beans and continue boil for 2 minutes then let stand in the water for 1 hour and then drain.
• Add to fresh boiling water to finish the cooking.

I thought that you swell the beans in water overnight then drain, to get them to cook thoroughly in less time.

I guess maybe, it could have been, put them in boiling water, take off heat and let set over night covered, then drain and rinse too.

Whats the Straight Dope on beans? :confused:

That’s a basic quick-soak (or no-soak) recipe. I don’t think it will affect the gassiness of the finished dish, either way, but it does tend to produce poor results in the consistency of the beans.

I don’t know of anything that produces firm but tender and creamy beans except a full overnight soak before any heat is applied. Besides the baking soda suggestion, there are other “de-gassing” tricks that can be applied during the soak. A full soak, with or without baking soda, and a drain and rinse before cooking has always produced mininal “musical” aftereffects for me. As well as tasty beans.

I’ve read that putting a piece of kombu(dried seaweed, available in Japanese section of larger markets, gourmet and natural foods markets) will help with the gassiness. The kombu is tasteless and does not affect the flavor of the beans in any way.

If the pot is big enough to hold the beans and water before the soak, it will be big enough to hold the beans and water after the soak.

Think about it.

Not true. They’ll expand to two times the volume. Don’t cut it close

You’re not thinking sam. Where is the additional volume of the beans coming from? As the volume of the beans increases, the volume of the water decreases. No net change; the water level in the pot stays the same.

I use herbs like sage and caraway seeds to prevent gas when I cook beans or cabbage but I have no idea if it really works or not.

Ever do this in the real world?

About two weeks ago.


Next try.

Cotton Candy.

How can I have a cubic yard of fluff from a few spoons full of sugar?

You can’t. But if you include the air used to make the cotton candy, the volume is the same; just like the beans and water.

Only once. :smack:

Fear Itself…think about it again. Water is liquid, and fills all space in the pot between the beans. Cooked beans are solids, and don’t. Extra air space between the beans adds to the volume. If it’s too close to the brim when it’s small beans and water, it will push the lid off, overboil and burn beans on your cooktop.

Now, it’s true that if you keep cooking them, the beans will break down and then be more or less liquid in property, and you won’t have those air spaces. But there’s a dicey hour or two in there where you could make a huge mess. Just use the bigger pot.

We’re not talking about during cooking, just during soaking. The volume of the beans increases, the volume of the water decreases, the total volume is the same.

Quick soak always works for me, with the method noted above. Not for the farts, as I don’t think there’s much of anything that will work for that, but fine for cooking. Epazote is supposed to have some anti-gassing properties and is used in Mexican cooking.

I found out the hard way that if you have hard water (calcium) then soaking beans ovcernight will toughen them.

Did you add salt to the water? That can result in toughness in some vegetables. Corn, for sure.
Or perhaps the mineral salts in the water, right? Need that smack smiley.