Beans are a wonderful source of inexpensive nutrition. They contain minerals, vitamins, fatty acids, and fiber. But poorly prepared beans can, ummm, yeah, back to the whole musical fruit thing.
But flatulence is not really the worst part of poorly made beans..... Beans have phytic acid. If not neutralized during soaking or cooking, the phytic acid can actually impede mineral absorption. Who wants to eat something that can do that!?!?!
Proper preparation of beans is key, and I'm going to tell you just how to do that! So go grab yourself a few bags of beans and let's get to it!
Soaking the Beans
You are going to "soak" the beans in the same pot that you are going to use to cook them in. Why? Well, because you are going to give them a little heat before leaving them to sit. Make sure your pot is big enough so you can put 1/3 parts beans and 2/3 parts water.
If you are using a stockpot, bring your beans to a simmer, then turn the heat off. If you are using a crock pot, turn it on high for about 45 minutes and then back off. Either pot you decided to use, you are going to let the beans sit for at least 8 hours before cooking (longer is better, like 24 hours.)
When making lentils, navy/white beans, black beans, or fava beans you will want to add 1 Tablespoon of acid for each cup of beans. Acid can be apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. If you are doing chickpeas it is 2 Tablespoons for every cup of beans. Acid is not needed for other types of beans.
Cooking the Beans
Once your beans have soaked, it is time to drain the water from the soak and rinse them. Place your beans back in your pot and cover with about twice as much water as there is beans. If you are using a stockpot, bring the beans and water to a boil. Once you have a nice boil going, reduce your heat to a very gentle boil/simmer and cover your pot. Beans should take an hour to an hour and a half to become tender. If you are using a crock pot, place your beans and water in and turn it on high for an hour and then down to low for another 8-10 hours.
Either way you cook your beans, a scum/foam will appear, just scoop it off. For beans that don’t seem to want to soften up, add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda to the cooking water to help them. Baking soda will also help reduce the gas "issues" of beans.
Now wasn't that simple!?!?!
Seriously, that's it. Once your beans are done, use/flavor them as you want and enjoy! Dried beans may take more time (cause they sit around soaking) but trust me, you haven't eaten, till you make your own!
**Homestead Tips on Tuesday is a weekly series where we help you learn skills, tips, and trick to help you on your journey of homesteading. Many places post list of things you should/could do as far as homesteading skill, but I feel lists are at times overwhelming and can make people give up before they even start. So every Tuesday I share one thing for you to try or consider. I hope you join us every Tuesday and I would love to hear about your adventures with each weeks topic.**