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For us, consuming beans is a fact of life. They’re cheap, they’re plentiful. They’re one of my son’s favorite foods. They can be put into a huge variety of dishes and taste like they belong there. They’re a vegetable with protein. They can stretch meat meals. Did I mention they’re cheap? They store beautifully and take up no freezer space. They’re easily found in bulk. What’s not to like?
Well, the gastric distress was not liked. In fact, one family member was very vocal about it. Bean-zyme was only making the problem marginally better. So I recently made the switch from soaking my beans to sprouting my beans. Why? Sprouting produces less gastric distress. Less gastric distress makes for happier short folk. Happier short folk who are willing to eat beans again without complaint.
Sprouting has the added benefit of turning the bean into a vegetable and making the carbohydrates less bioavailable for absorption. The book Chickpea Breeding and Management has information on these changes. They cite studies showing sprouting decreases the total carb content and the starch content, increases the dietary fiber and increases the digestibility. So, for us, sprouting is an all-around win.
How to Sprout Beans
To sprout and cook beans, soak the beans in water overnight. Drain thoroughly, then spread out in a colander or a berry basket and set on the counter to dry. Cover with a towel if needed. Rinse the beans 3-4 times a day for two to three days and drain thoroughly each time. Discard them if mold or a sour smell develops. Depending on what type of bean you are soaking, it will take a different amount of time to get them to sprout for each type.
To cook, rinse thoroughly then cover by one-inch of water or stock and bring to a gentle simmer and cook until tender. Alternately, they can be cooked in your pressure cooker or your crock-pot.
This does take more planning and preparation, but I find the benefits outweigh that problem. You can do the beans in large batches, and once they are cooked they can be frozen just like soaked and cooked beans. That lets you keep them on hand and ready for inclusion in any meal you wish.
Edited to add: Please note that you must cook kidney and cannellini beans in order to neutralize the toxins found in the raw bean.