Beans, beans, good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you…well, you know the rest.
The good news, though, is that beans are great for your body. According to WebMD, beans are packed with protein, high in fiber, loaded with antioxidants, low in fat, and rich in phytonutrients. Another bonus – they are an inexpensive source of protein that goes great with a variety of other foods.
The downside of beans is that they are gassy little protein powerhouses that can lead to embarrassing flatulence.
Now for more good news – the gas production, and a host of other bean related dilemmas, can be avoided by using a few legume tricks.
1. Soak dry beans overnight, covering the beans completely with cold water, and adding about 1/8 cup of vinegar. If you have a double batch of beans, you’ll increase the vinegar to 1/4 cup. I like to use apple cider vinegar in my beans, but my friend swears by white vinegar.
After you have soaked your beans overnight, rinse them, and put them into a pot of fresh water. Finally, add a few tablespoons of vinegar to the pot and cook the beans as you normally would.
As a side note, I detest the smell of vinegar, but the small amount you use when cooking your beans dissipates quickly and there is no overpowering vinegar scent wafting through the kitchen. I have also never noticed a vinegary flavor to the cooked beans.
2. Another gas-battling technique is to add about a teaspoon of fennel seeds to your beans as you soak them overnight. I like to put the fennel seeds in a fine mesh tea ball so that they are easy to remove when I rinse the beans.
When you cook the beans, add a few cut up pieces of raw potato to the water. Remove the potato after the beans are done and enjoy your flatulence-free legumes.
3. Need to add salt to your beans as they cook? Don’t add it too early! The best time to salt your beans is right before they are done. Adding salt too early in the cooking process is a sure fire way to slow cooking time since the slat keeps uncooked beans from softening as quickly.
4. Want to keep your beans from boiling over and making a mess of your stove? Try this easy tip – add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to the water when you cook your beans. This tip has kept my stove clean for years.
5. Have a problem storing dry beans long term without weevils or other pests? Put a dried chili pepper in your storage container and pests will never be a problem again!
Kovacs, J.S. “Beans: Protein Rich Superfoods.” 2007. WebMD. 26 Aug. 2009. <http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/beans-protein-rich-superfoods>.