Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Recipe: Beans

Beans, beans, the musical fruit,
The more you eat, the more...

Nutritionally balanced you are.


But seriously, which one of us grown ups remember that little ditty and wish it weren't quite so true?  What if we could change that so much that the new rhyme became "the more you woot"? (Or whatever similar rhyme you like.)

I'm here to tell you, it is possible!

Why do beans make us... do that awful stinky stuff? Why are they such a problem?  I can tell you, they didn't used to be.  It used to be common practice to soak beans for long periods of time before cooking them. No, not just overnight, and certainly not a couple hours after bringing to a boil!  Beans were soaked for DAYS.  And that's what I do, and what I'm going to recommend to you.

I was inspired in my method by the book, Nourishing Traditions, but I'll make a few notes and tips for you as I've discovered them.  Here is the recipe straight from the book, followed by my own comments.

Basic Pinto Beans

NT Page 496


  • 2 cups black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, white beans or black-eyed peas
  • warm filtered water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed (optional)
  • sea salt and pepper


Cover beans with warm water. Stir in baking soda and leave in a warm place for 12-24 hours, depending on the size of the bean. Drain, rinse, place in a large pot and add water to cover beans. Bring to a boil and skim off foam. Reduce heat and add optional garlic. Simmer, covered, for 4-8 hours. Check occasionally and add more water as necessary. Season to taste after beans are soft.

My notes:  I also add a healthy tablespoonful of salt to the soaking water.  It adds a lot of flavor to the final product, and as long as you rinse the beans well prior to cooking, it won't affect the cooking time or ability of the beans.  

To reduce the undesired effects of the beans, I've found that waiting 2-3 days (until the beans are fairly bubbly and almost start to smell bad) and skimming off the foam as you bring the beans to a boil helps A LOT.  

Also, you could conceivably cook the beans in the slow cooker, if that works better for you.  Make sure you have room for plenty of water for the beans to soak up and expand in without burning anything.  You'll likely have to experiment a little with your own slow cooker, as they each tend to be different.  

One more note, you can freeze these beauties.  I can fit about two cans worth comfortably in a quart size freezer bag, which is just right for most meals for my family.  So make a lot!

I swear, cook beans this way, and both the taste and the "after-party" (or lack thereof) will change your life forever.  And your friends and family will thank you. 


AZSongbird said...

Hi, Arienne,

Under "preparation" at the end of the second paragraph, there is mention of the ability of the beans to do something. Could you please tell me what that refers to?



Arienne said...

That refers to the ability of the beans to cook up. So the process doesn't affect either the cooking time or cooking ability, or ability to be cooked, of the beans. Does that make more sense?

AZSongbird said...

Yes, that works much better. Thank you.