Improving Digestibility of Beans

This process was designed for natural beans, not GMO soybeans, kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, and so on.

Dried beans are a nutritional powerhouse, but they do have a few defenses that our ancestors figured out how to evade thousands of years ago.

For maximum netritional benefit from beans, our ancestors started the predigesting process long before beans were eaten.

First, clean and rinse the beans.  put in a pot or bowl and soak for 24 hours.  Drain off the soaking water, recover, and cook at a simmer until soft.  About 30 minutes before done, add spices and salt.

Alternate:  After recovering the beans  with water, bring to a boil, then cook using the thermal cooking method of your choice.  These are everything from a sleek thermos-inspired pot to a hay box to a pot buried in the earth.

The soaking starts predigestion by breaking down complex oligosaccharides, a sugar that causes flatulence when broken down in your digestive system.  24 hours gives time for various enzymes to break down these indigestible substances.  24 hours is also long enough to begin the internal chemical changes caused by sprouting, not only breaking down lectins, but also increasing nutrients in preparation for a new seedling.

Be cautious with modern research around traditional foods that are now being deemed bad for humans to eat.  Much of the research is being done with GMO foods, as if adding indigestible pesticides and bizarre genes from other species does not distinguish them from the natural foods eaten for thousands of years.

In very long storage, dry beans get to a point where they won’t get tender even after long cooking.   Fresh dried beans have about 15% moisture, but as time passes, the moisture lessens and the beans gradually harden.

Beans also have related chemical changes, the pectin becomes insoluble and binds with phenolic acids to harden the skin.  This enables the seed to survive for extended periods of drought.  They can be cooked if you add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to the soaking water per pound of dried beans.  Baking soda helps tenderize old beans by speeding the deterioration of insoluble pectin.

 It also degrades the nutritional value by replacing Calcium and magnesium ions in the outer skin with sodium ions… not a good exchange.  In this case it is better to soak 24 hours, then dry.  Grind the redried bean into bean flour.




About rebeccatreeseed

I am a naturalist raised by naturalists. Treeseed is my earned name, while Rebecca is my birth name. I am of Northern European descent, with a quarter Irish.quarter thrown in. I suspect I was a product of northern invaders into Ireland into Ireland. but hard to say since DNA disproved the family story about Apache blood! I have found some odd ancestors to replace them. Last year I bought 5 acres of pinyon-juniper forest on the side of a mountain in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. I am fulfilling a lifetime dream of a cabin in the mountains and a food forest that will feed me and local wildlife. I want to share this new phase of my life with others that might be interested.
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6 Responses to Improving Digestibility of Beans

  1. Helen says:

    I understood that sprouted beans were considered more nutritious and now I know why. Thank you!

    • Hi Helen! How is your new sunny garden? I have had snow for two days!

      • Helen says:

        We had hail on Tuesday – as well as sunshine…..

        It’s taking a while to get used to the lack of trees to the SW, especially as it is now bird nesting season. But I can still enjoy watching the wild birds scratching about for worms and seeds. Who needs chickens 😊.

        Otherwise it is great to have more light.

        When will spring come for you – or is the snow out-of-the-ordinary?

      • To the southwest is the best garden exposure, thpugh. Wild birds are mostly edible in a pinch! I have attracted quail… yum! I have seeded out their favorite foods for the last 3 years. My last frost date is May 1. Most wait until May 15 and warm crops around June 1. My painted corn, tepary beans, and bolita beans in June or July with summer rains. Snow is common in April but we are having a warm spring.

      • Helen says:

        It’s illegal in Britain to kill a wild bird without a license, which is fair enough in view of the fact that they need our protection (large human population coupled with loss of habitat). I’m happy that they frequently my garden for the pleasure of seeing them, though.

        I take it your quail are wild, then? My birds are mostly wood pigeons, blackbirds, robins and magpies.

        By the time the sun gets round the south west it is getting on towards evening, so not at its strongest. It will be interesting to see if the eastern side of my garden behaved differently now, though.

        As for frost, we could get a frost up till the end of May but it is more the fact that night time temperatures are unlikely to be above 10 degrees C before that time, so tender crops like tomatoes and the cucubits wouldn’t like it till those increase.

  2. Helen
    I feed my wildlife! I got a breeding pair of banded pigeons last year. I have a lot of birds, 5 ravens are my closest companions, but a red tailed hawk, pinyon jays, and more. These are hummer sized birds. My quail are wild, not enough for me to hunt at this time. In some ways we are very buttoned down here, other ways not so much.
    I love watching the wildlife, and feed them all. They are so unafraid of me I have to remind them and me that I am a predator!

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