Beans can be a nutritious, tasty, and affordable addition to your diet. Knowing how to make beans can improve the nutrition you can access from them and take them off the list of things you only eat when you are staying at home alone.
However, there can be some drawbacks to adding beans to your diet as well. The presence of antinutrients and their potential effects on the gut ranging from an autoimmune response to bloating and the possibility of audible and aromatic faux pas in public.*Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase. are antinutrients?
Since plants do not have arms and legs or teeth or claws to run away or defend themselves, nature has provided mechanisms to poison little bugs and critters from eating them (lectins) or keep them intact enough to reproduce (phytic acid or phytates) once they’ve been excreted in some nutrient-rich… a-hem… soil.
These antinutrients not only protect the plant and keep it from sharing its nutrients but also bind to other nutrients like zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium in your system and keep it all for themselves.
It’s possible to mitigate these symptoms by utilizing a combination of ancestral preparation methods and modern technology that will help not only to break down the aforementioned trouble-causing properties but also make the nutrients more bioavailable (meaning your body can actually absorb the nutrients instead of them just passing through).
*Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- When preparing beans at home, rinse them really well and soak them in brine overnight. This will also significantly reduce the amount of cooking time.
- Rinse beans after cooking as well. You may think this would wash out the flavor but with the following preparation method, all the flavor will be in the bean. You can also finish them in a saute or toss them afterward with sauce or seasoning.
- Cooking beans with seaweed (wakame or kombu) actually helps to break down its antinutrients (particularly those that give you gas). This is really easy. Throw in a piece of the wakame (available where any international foods are sold) with the beans, throw it out (or eat it) when the beans have finished cooking.
- Buying beans that are sprouted or sprouting them yourself will not only break down antinutrients but also add a ton of bioavailable nutrition as well.
- I bought a 5lb bag of organic black beans from Costco for like $13. I cook them in one pound batches and freeze individual servings.
This recipe makes the perfect beans! You may have had problems in the past feeling like you cooked them forever and they still aren’t cooked all the way or they come out mushy or bland. These beans will be still intact but perfectly creamy on the inside and have a ton of flavor. Sometimes I just snack on them by the handful.
So here’s what you do:
Instead of just soaking the beans overnight, soak them in a brine. This is seriously a game-changer. A basic brine is about 1 tablespoon of coarse Kosher salt dissolved per 4 cups of water. Make sure you find the appropriate ratio if using a different type of salt!
Rinse them really well and pick out any stones or debris.
Soak overnight in enough brine to cover the beans by 2 inches. Cover the bowl to keep dirt and dust out.
Rinse the beans from the brine.
Toss the beans in the pressure cooker.
I will never cook beans again in anything else! It’s so much easier to cook in the pressure cooker and this method has a lot to do with making the beans more digestible.
Add 8 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of sea salt, 1 stick of Wakame or Kombu, two teaspoons of lemongrass powder, and a few knobs of ginger (peeled and sliced large enough so you can pick it out after cooking). I also like to throw in a quartered onion but be warned it will turn to mush, if you’re not into mush, substitute onion powder or add it afterward.
Set for 20 minutes on high pressure and do a natural release. Drain beans from liquid and rinse. They come out so delicious! Seriously, I eat them with my hands, but they work great in recipes too 😉
If this all seems like way too much effort for you, but Eden Organics brand beans. They cook them with seaweed and make sure to rinse them before eating or using them in a recipe.