Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Proper Way to Soak Beans

I know legumes and beans are not really suppose to be apart of a Paleo Diet, but I think there can be a place for them as long as they are prepared properly.  You must soak dried beans for at least 48 hours in distilled water with an acidic medium like Fresh Lemon Juice or Apple Cider Vinegar. If you're one of those people that have a hard time digesting legumes even with a good over night or longer soak, like myself, then try soaking for 3 days and changing the soaking water every 12 hours, and put a strip of Kombu in with the beans. This way of soaking works for me very well. I don't get gas, bloating or any stomach upsets.

What Makes Beans So Hard to Digest?
Besides the phytic acid contained in legumes, the harder beans such as kidney and navy beans contain oligosaccharides. This complex sugar is impossible to digest without some help because humans do not produce the enzyme alpha-galactosidase needed to properly break it down.
Soak Your Beans For At Least 48 Hours. Not just "overnight" as many recipes call for, but for 2-3 days. The longer they are soaked the easier they are to digest.
Soak with Kombu.  Soak your beans with a strip of kombu (a sea vegetable).  Kombu actually contains the enzyme needed to break down the oligosaccharides. Just make sure you save the strip and add it to each new soaking batch of water, and then you can discard it after the 3-day soak.
For every cup of beans you need 1 tbsp of an acidic medium. Make sure you add a lot more water than you think you need to your beans because they will expand. Put your medium in once you have your distilled water over your beans and give it a stir to mix and add a piece of Kombu. Now let it set for 12 hours and strain your beans and redo the process over again for 3 days before cooking them. One thing I will mention, you need to ferment in a ceramic or glass bowl. Not metal or plastic, it must be a non-reactive bowl; the acidic medium could leach stuff from the metal or plastic bowls. Enjoy!

 As you can see in the picture this is what it looks like. This is the third day of soaking so now they are ready to be strained, rinsed and cooked. You can see the piece of Kombu that will be thrown away before cooking.

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