January 05, 2014

Let's Celebrate National Bean Day Without the Gas

Today is National Bean Day!  Really, it is.  I could celebrate the day than with some great recipes featuring the fab legumes, but I chose to celebrate it by sharing some tips for avoiding gas while eating beans.  Yes, I said it.  GAS!  

Check out these sure fire tips for reducing gas in beloved legumes.  Enjoy and share!  
Photo courtesy of 123rf.com
During the fall and winter months, I love making soups and chilis filled with beans.  Beans are an inexpensive way to make my soups and chilis healthier and more filling.  Beans are healthy source of protein and recognized as one of the 5 food groups on the USDA Food Pyramid.  Beans are inexpensive, easy to prepare and with so many legumes to choose from you could try a new variety every single day and not have the same bean twice for a few years.  

As promised, here are some tried and true tips for decreasing gas in your bean recipes.  

  1. Rinse 'em.  Beans should always be rinsed before preparing.  A quick rinse will not only reduce gas but will wash away dirt and sediment often found in dry beans.  Even if you use canned beans, you should rinse them as well.  Seriously, open a can of beans and you'll probably see a foamy substance escape from the can.  That form is full of gas producing sugars and rinsing really helps wash away those sugars without changing the flavor.
  2. Soak 'em.  After you rinse the beans thoroughly, be sure to soak them.  Some beans will do fine with a quick soak of a couple of hours, while others may require an overnight soak to remove those gas producing sugars.  Yes, it's actually the sugars in beans that cause gas.  
  3. Boil 'em, drain 'em and boil 'em again.  After your beans come to a boil, drain the boiling water and then bring them to a boil again.  You should see a foamy substance develop as your beans begin to boil.  This foam actually contains some of the gas causing sugars and by removing it you cut down on the gas.
  4. Cook 'em long and slow.  Beans that cook long and slow are able to break down those gas producing sugars therefore reducing gas
  5. Do NOT salt your beans while cooking.  I don't know what it is about beans and salt that seems to increase gas but there's clearly something about mixing sodium with your beans that really doesn't do the tummy well.  Seriously, adding seasonings without salt lessen the gas.  This is a great way to experiment with some of those other spices in your pantry and release the unique flavors of each legume.
Hope these tried and true tips will help you eat more beans and reduce the gas.  Enjoy and Happy National Bean Day!


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