|make your stomach happy||.||
how to cook dried beans by Yee-Fan Sun | 1 2 3 4
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up: how much to cook
prepping the beans
Now at this point, you'll find yourself faced with a choice. To soak or not to soak -- ah yes, that is the question. For most folks, that pesky pre-soaking is probably the single biggest impediment to cooking dried beans. Somehow, that extra step of having to remember to soak the beans overnight just strikes our inner sloths as being far too much of a pain.
As it turns out, contrary to popular belief, pre-soaking is NOT an essential step in preparing dried beans. However -- and this is a big however for some folks -- presoaking has one important advantage over cooking straightaway: it minimizes the gassiness problem. By soaking the beans beforehand, you're letting some of the compounds that cause gas to dissolve into the water, which is then discarded before cooking. There's still no guarantee that you'll enjoy a fart-free, bloat-free evening, but your chances of doing so are much greater. As an added bonus, presoaking also reduces the actual cooking time, though to me, the difference between two hours versus three has never in and of itself been that much an incentive -- either way, it's awhile.
Basically, in the end, it's up to you whether you choose to soak or not. If you can remember to do so, it's probably just as well to soak. Should you choose to skip it, however, you can still make your beans. As for the flatulence problem, most folks find that the more often they eat beans, the easier their bodies are able to digest beans anyway, and hence, less gassiness. If it really bothers you, you can also take an enzyme supplement like Beano to help break down the beans.
To soak your beans, just cover them with at least two inches of cool water. Let them sit at least eight hours, or up to a day. It's actually kind of cool to monitor their transformation during this time, as you'll see them go from little and smooth, to a bit bigger and wrinkled, to plump and smooth -- like magic!