Soak, Rinse and Cook your Beans Well.
In our home, we soak beans and legumes for upwards of 48 hours, changing the soaking water frequently as the beans begin to ferment. Especially in winter, using warm water for soaking beans is recommended.
Some kinds of raw beans, especially red and kidney beans, but also french green beans, contain a harmful toxin (lectin phytohaemagglutinin) that must be removed by cooking.
A recommended method for cooking the beans is to boil them in abundant water till tender; undercooked beans may be more toxic than raw beans. Cooking beans in a slow cooker, because of the lower temperatures often used, may not destroy toxins even though the beans do not smell or taste ‘bad’ (though this should not be a problem if the food reaches boiling temperature and stays there for some time). Once the beans are well done discard the boiling water.
Some people have difficulty digesting beans and legumes. They may develop gas, intestinal problems, irritability, or unclear thinking. Here are a few techniques for preparing and eating legumes that will alleviate most problems.
• Soak beans for several days, changing the water twice daily, until a small tail forms on the beans.
• Chew beans thoroughly and know that even small amounts have a high nutritional and healing value.
• Avoid giving legumes to children under 18 months because they have not developed the gastric enzymes to digest them properly.
• Experiment with your ability to digest beans. Smaller beans like adzuki, lentils, mung beans, and peas digest most easily. Pinto, kidney, navy, black-eyed peas, garbanzo, lima, and black beans are harder to digest. Soybeans and black soybeans are the most difficult beans to digest.
• Experiment with combinations, ingredients, and seasonings. Legumes combine best with green or non- starchy vegetables and seaweeds.
• Season with unrefined sea salt, miso or, soy sauce near the end of cooking. If salt is added at the beginning, the beans will not cook completely. Salt is a digestive aid when used correctly.
• Adding fennel or cumin near the end of cooking helps prevent gas.
• Adding kombu or kelp seaweed to the beans helps improve flavor and digestion, adds minerals and
nutrients, and speeds up the cooking process.
• Pour a little apple cider, brown rice vinegar, or white wine vinegar into the water during the last stages of cooking. This softens the beans and breaks down protein chains and indigestible compounds.
• Take enzymes with your meal.