How to Prepare Dry Beans and Peas for Cooking

Dry beans and peas are raw agricultural products and may contain dirt, stones and other debris. They are picked and mechanically sorted, and then dried before packaging with no other processing involved. All dry beans should be hand-sorted to remove stones and other debris, rinsed twice with water to remove dirt, and soaked according to any one of the three following methods. Soaking beans and peas before cooking them is essential to be sure they will be completely cooked in 3-6 hours. Consuming undercooked beans will make you very sick, although the illness is not life-threatening.

You will need a large pot, at least 5 quarts capacity, and a colander with small enough holes to keep the beans from running through them.

One reason many people give for not wanting to eat beans very often is that they cause intestinal gas, often in embarrassing amounts. This is unfortunate given the health and economy beans provide.

Gas-Free Soaking Method

Beans cause gas because they contain indigestible sugars that ferment in our intestines. Fermentation of sugars produces carbon dioxide gas, and thus, intestinal gas. There are two ways to deal with this fact. One is to add an enzyme product, such as Beano, to your first bite of beans. These enzymes digest the sugars we are not able to digest on our own. Another is to remove as much of those sugars as possible before cooking the beans.

In a stockpot or dutch oven, place 1 pound of dry beans (sorted and rinsed) in 10 or more cups of boiling water; boil for 2-3 minutes, cover and set aside overnight. The next day approximately 75 to 90 percent of the indigestible sugars will have dissolved into the soaking water. Drain and then rinse the beans thoroughly before cooking them.

I use this soaking method and it really does significantly reduce the amount of gas you have after consuming beans. I’ve tried Beano, but I experience a considerable amount of stomach discomfort with it. I’m not sure why that happens, but I would rather have the gas than use Beano. This soaking method removes the sugars, I have no discomfort, and very little gas.

Quick Soaking Method

I use this method when I decide to prepare beans for a meal that day and didn’t soak them over night using the gas-free method. It removes some indigestible sugars, but enough remain to cause a fair amount of intestinal gas.

Place 1 pound of sorted and rinsed beans in 8-10 cups of water. Bring to a boil and cook for two minutes. Turn off the heat and set the pot aside for one hour. Drain the beans and rinse them thoroughly with water. Beans are now ready to cook.

Overnight Soaking Method

This soaking method is the least effective at removing the indigestible sugars.

Place 1 pound of sorted and rinsed beans in 8-10 cups of cold water. Cover and let them soak over night. Drain and rinse the beans thoroughly before cooking.

Source: beans4health website:

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