How to cook beans?
January 16, 2008 4:21 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way to cook beans that will reduce the amount of gas I will "produce" after consuming them?

I have bags 'n' bags of dry, raw beans: lima, white, pinto, black, etc.
posted by oldlies to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I think sprouting them is supposed to help in this regard. It does change the way the beans behave, though.

There's always Beanoz. That's supposed to work well.

And finally, don't forget to chew chew chew those beans carefully. It helps to break them down before they go into your digestive system where the gas forms.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:25 PM on January 16, 2008

This was asked a couple of days ago.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 4:26 PM on January 16, 2008

In How To Cook Everything, Mark Bittman says the following soaking method does the trick: cover the beans with water, "bring to a boil, cook for two minutes," then let the beans soak for at least 1 hour. After soaking, rinse the beans again and cook as usual.

He also recommends adding Beano to foods or simply eating more beans--he says your body will develop a tolerance.
posted by whimwit at 4:27 PM on January 16, 2008

Did you read this post? There's a bit of information on what you can do afterward, just in case the following answers don't pan out so well.
posted by heyho at 4:27 PM on January 16, 2008

when you soak the beans, pour the water off. Don't finish them in the "bean water." You can also add a little baking soda (about one tsp) to the beans while they are simmering.
posted by Medieval Maven at 4:31 PM on January 16, 2008

I'm from Metafilter and I could overbake a plate of beans.

Have you considered just using beano?
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:35 PM on January 16, 2008

Interestingly this was covered on Alton Brown's show a few nights ago. Apparently discarding the soak water (if you're soaking dry beans before cooking) can help somewhat.

The main problem with beans is that the human body lacks the correct enzymes to digest them in the small intestine, so they end up going to your large intestine undigested -- which causes gas. The enzyme in question is alpha galactosidase. This is the active ingredient in Beano. If you don't like the idea of swallowing a pill, you can get it in liquid form and sprinkle it on the cooked beans (has to be after cooking) if that allows you to think about it as more of an 'ingredient' and less of a drug.

This article also has some more general suggestions, but most of them are aimed at nonspecific gas, not just beans.
posted by Kadin2048 at 4:59 PM on January 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

You want to cook 'em with epazote or kombu, if either of those are compatible with the flavor profile of what you're cooking.
posted by mumkin at 5:11 PM on January 16, 2008

I've heard that adding some chunks of carrots will absorb whatever it is that makes people gassy, but now I wonder if that is an old wive's tale. Be sure to throw the carrot out afterwards.
posted by idiotfactory at 5:27 PM on January 16, 2008

What Medieval Maiden said. Also, my grandmother has always said to throw in a chunk of potato while they're cooking.

You might also see some improvement if you leave out onions and don't use much garlic. Add onions, however, to inflate.
posted by dilettante at 5:38 PM on January 16, 2008

I've heard that adding citrus can help. I always squirt in a good amount of lemon or lime juice and don't have much problem. But then again, I'm a beans-five-times-a-week kinda girl.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 5:54 PM on January 16, 2008

My experience confirms whimwit's. Eat them regularly, and your body seems to adjust.
posted by bricoleur at 6:10 PM on January 16, 2008

Third-hand advice that I've never tried, but which originated with someone of Latin American descent whose family eats a ton of beans: add mint to the soaking/cooking water.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:26 PM on January 16, 2008

Hing, or asafoetida, is a common ingredient in Indian dishes, and it's believed to aid digestion. You only need a pinch!
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 7:20 PM on January 16, 2008

What Kadin2048 said. Although I have read that the more often one eats beans the less likely they will suffer from the gas.
posted by terrapin at 7:35 PM on January 16, 2008

I agree with not cooking them in the soaking water, use fresh. Sometimes I even change the water halfway through soaking, it really seems to help.
posted by starfish at 7:36 PM on January 16, 2008

Hing, or asafoetida [...] you only need a pinch!

Whew. Yes, just a pinch, please. They don't call it Devil's Dung for nothing.
posted by mumkin at 9:00 PM on January 16, 2008

I have had success with pouring with pouring the soaking water off twice (or more).

I bring them to a boil in a pot with regular water, let soak a couple of hours, pour off the water and repeat. Then after the last pour-off I add veggie broth and cook them up.
posted by KAS at 7:36 AM on January 17, 2008

old wives tale: my mom adds a quarter clove of garlic to the beans she makes.
posted by doorsfan at 8:25 AM on January 17, 2008

Not combining them with meat or cheese won't reduce the amount of gas you produce, but will greatly reduce the aroma of it.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:35 AM on January 17, 2008

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