We all know that beans and rice are great for long term storage. They are nutritious, inexpensive and have a long shelf life. Beans especially are incredibly good for you, and contain a great deal of fiber, something missing in many modern diets.
One night a few months ago, I told my husband that I was going to make beans and cornbread for dinner. Looking at me skeptically he said “You know, you have to live here too”. Beans, broccoli, onion – all the usual suspects cause the usual dietary response.
There are several things you can do to reduce ‘the usual dietary response’ though, and I am going to touch on a few – and one REALLY GREAT one.
First of all, there is Beeno. Expensive and not gluten free. Bean-zyme, much less expensive, gluten free, and Alpha-galactosidase, the active ingredient in both Beeno and Bean-zyme, with their own names through most of the on-line vitamin companies, Vitacost, The Vitamin Shoppe, etc. I ordered several bottles from VItacost on Sunday, BOGO half price, I ordered 4 bottles for preps.
However, since I planned to actually COOK the beans for dinner on Sunday, those bottles on order would not help a whole lot.
Actually, my favorite method is to sprout the beans before cooking, which I had already started. I bought a 29 oz package of Bob’s RedMill 13 bean soup a few days before, poured about half (about 1-1/2 cups) into a gallon jar (there are only two of us), added warm water and allowed it to soak overnight. Then next morning, I drained the water, rinsed and drained out the rinse water, then put cheesecloth over the jar opening, and laid it on its side. For the next day, I rinsed the beans twice during the day. By Sunday morning, all the beans and lentils were beginning to sprout – except for the split peas of course.
This was also an experiment to see if the beans were good enough to plant in a month or so – as Bob’s RedMill does not use ANY GMO products, and I figured this was an easy way to get lots of different kinds of beans growing in my garden inexpensively. Success!
Anyway, now all the beans are sprouting – they all have little whitish tails coming out of them. So Sunday afternoon, I placed them into a big pot, added a bunch of water, brought it to a boil, added a little olive oil (to keep the foaming down), a few pieces of bacon and two chopped onions. My husband is still thinking it is a recipe for an evening’s disaster.
Anyway, as cooking progressed, I added carrots, some polish sausage that was too small amount to fit in a pint jar last time I canned them, and a little bit of tomato sauce and a bunch of spices. Then at the last minute, I added in left over mashed potatoes and spinach (which had also been cooked with bacon – my family is from Texas). Yes, I’m frugal – Scottish ancestry and proud of it!
It was delicious. My husband loved it, as did I. And you know what – no gas!
The gas from beans is caused by the complex carbohydrates in them. Soaking helps, but often not enough. When you sprout the beans, not only do you increase their nutritional value (vitamins and protein), and some of those vitamins by over 200%, you also kill the antinutritional factors in legumes, and probably best of all, it breaks down the complex carbohydrates that cause the gas in your intestines, as you are trying to digest them.
Oh, and that 1-1/2 cups of beans, turned into 2 nights dinner, and I still probably have 6 cups left.
So, if you want the beans without the toot, consider sprouting them before cooking them.
By Michele C
Site Admin and Food Committee Coordinator