Beans are a great addition to any well-balanced diet, they are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber but if you wish to avoid a swollen tummy and bottom burps you will need to prepare, soak and know your cooking times.
So to give you a helping hand I have prepared this little guide…..
CLEAN YOUR BEANS – give them a good wash, picking out any discoloured beans, debri or dirt.
SOAK YOUR BEANS – IN PLENTY OF WATER – for most beans this will need to be an overnight affair, even longer if you have large or old beans. I like to soak chickpeas for a minimum of 24 hours, changing the water a couple of times. In general your beans will need enough time to soak up the water and swell in size. Place a stick of dried Kombu (seaweed) in the soaking water with the beans, this will help to reduce gas. Discard soaking water when beans are ready to cook.
COOK YOUR BEANS WELL – using fresh water, add the beans and Kombu to a saucepan with a lid or better still a pressure cooker. Cover beans with water using a 1:3 ratio (3 being the water) do not add any salt at this stage, this can harden the shell and make them difficult to cook and digest. Scrape of any foam before the beans come to boil. Once boiling and foam free cover and simmer on a low heat (I have heard that some people discarding this water and then starting the cooking process again, I don’t, but you may want to try this if you have trouble with gas).
TEST YOUR BEANS – always good to test before you turn them into something yummy. The beans are cooked well when you can easily crush the bean against the roof of your mouth using your tongue (wait for the tester bean to cool before putting it in your mouth). When the beans are ready I like to cook for a few more minutes using a little salt for flavour and a little apple cider vinegar to aid digestion.
CHEW YOUR BEANS – chewing your beans until they are like a watery paste is the most sensible way to eat them. Your saliva contains enzymes that are going to begin the digestion process before they even hit your belly! If you are new to beans, start with the smaller variety which are easier to cook and a little less gassy. Don’t eat too many, beans are incredibly yummy and satisfying but they are also rich and heavy. Too many beans can make you feel sluggish, find out what is right for you.
Rough guide on cooking times for some popular beans – always wise to leave some extra time incase they need a little longer. Remember this is a rough guide, your cooking time will depend on variety, age, hard water etc. Always check the packet.
BEAN SOAK COOK PRESSURE COOK
Aduki beans none – 3 hours 45-50 mins 15-20 mins
Mung beans 3 hours – overnight 1-1½ hours 10-15 mins
Chickpeas overnight -24 hours 1½-2½hours 1-1½ hours
Pinto beans overnight 1-1½ hours 10-15 mins
Black (turtle) beans overnight 45-60 mins 15-20 mins
Lentils none 15-45 mins (depending on variatey)