Technique: Cooked Beans
Yield: 2 1/2 – 3 cups of beans
Beans are a wonderfully healthy protein source when properly prepared. When ill prepared, they wreak havoc on our digestion. We’ve all heard our fair share of bean jokes, I’m sure. But, there’s a more important reason than simply reducing a gassy stomach for properly preparing beans. Beans contain phytic acid, which is indigestible for human beings who only have one stomach to breakdown food. Phytic acid prevents the absorption of phosphorus, which is bound within the phytic acid, but it also binds with other minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc, making them unavailable, too! Since it would be hard to grown another stomach, we will have to settle with a long soaking process, which neutralizes that pesky phytic acid. For more information, I’d like to direct you to the source of my information and a huge inspiration in my kitchen, The Weston A. Price Foundation.
1 cup dried black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas or white beans
warm filtered water to cover beans
2 tbsp whey or lemon juice
7 cups filtered water
1 3″ piece of kombu *
2 tsp sea salt
Put beans in a large pot and cover with warm water by 2″. Stir in whey or lemon juice, cover and leave in a warm place 12 – 36 hours. Longer soaking removes additional phytic acid from the bean. If soaking longer than 12 hours, change water and whey/lemon juice every 12 hours.
After soaking, drain beans and rinse well. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, add beans, 7 cups water and kombu. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. If any foam has formed on the surface of the water, skim and discard with a large flat spoon. Then cover the pot and simmer for 1 1/2 – 4 hours, depending upon the type of bean and final preparation. Smaller beans will generally cook more quickly. When using beans for a salad, stop cooking beans before they lose their shape and become mushy. Before the last 30 minutes of cook time, add 2 tsp sea salt.
When cooking is complete, remove kombu. If small pieces of the kombu remain, no problem. Store beans in the refrigerator in the cooking liquid to use throughout the week. Drain and rinse, as needed.
* Kombu is a seaweed that imparts a boat-load of minerals and flavor into the cooking liquid, along with beneficial enzymes which help break down the sugars of the bean.