Soaking and de-gasifying beans

Worried about the bubbly effects (and by bubbly, you know Iโ€™m not referring to sparkling wine or laughter)? Of course, one of the main concerns with any bean-based dish would be because of the aftermath of bean indigestionโ€”or rather, the by-products of bean digestion. No one wants to walk around looking like an inflated airbag. However, the key to alleviating any unwanted side-effects lies in the soaking method BEFORE actually cooking the beans.

What I do is actually prepare the beans a minimum of one or two days ahead of cooking them. The best way to soak the beans for de-gasifying would be to use warm water and add an acid (like vinegar, lime, or lemon juice) and a strip of seaweed like kombu or wakame to the soaking water. What is the benefit of soaking them in warm water? This helps eliminate phytic acid, which in turn aids in increasing the absorption of minerals from the beans. The most effective temperature is at about 60 degrees Celsius (or 140 degrees Fahrenheit).

Why add an acid? Acidulating the water decreases its pH level, which makes it easier to break down the phytic acid. I leave it overnight, throw the water the next day, and repeat the same process one more time. Some people worry about throwing away the water because the nutrients in the beans will be lost that way. But the truth is, you won’t be able to digest most of these nutrients anyway with all that phytic acid lurking around, along with other indigestible “bad guys” it is very important that you throw the soak water away because it contains all the indigestible gas-causing enzymes and trisaccharides. Plus, the soaked seaweed will provide extra minerals (and will not affect the taste!).

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