How to Cook Gasless Beans

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Filed Under: Recipes, Substitutions and Tips
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Learn how you can enjoy the nutrition of beans without their intestinal side effects

Do you love beans, but they don't like you? Almost everyone who enjoys beans would eat them more often if it weren't for the gaseous side effects.

Many suggestions for how to cook gasless beans have been put forth over the years. One is to add a carrot. Another is to drain off the water after soaking the beans overnight and then add more water, bring beans to a simmer, pour off the second round of water, and finally add more water to finish cooking.

I've never had any luck adding a carrot and think it changes the flavor of the beans. When you pour off the water as described, it will cut down on the gaseous nature of the beans, but it also cuts down on their nutritional value.

Here are a couple suggestions that I've found work better for reducing the natural explosions caused by beans.

Add Apple Cider Vinegar

Beans have a high concentration of indigestible oligosaccharides, such as raffinose and stachyose. These starches aren't absorbed in the small intestine, and when they pass into the large intestine, bacteria causes them to ferment and produce gas. The trick is to break down these stubborn starches so they can be digested.

When the last half hour of cooking time for your beans arrives, remove ¼-cup of liquid and add ¼-cup of apple cider vinegar. Bring the pot to a boil again, and simmer until done. (If you add the cider vinegar at the beginning of cooking, it will toughen the beans and lengthen the required cooking time. Salt should also be added after cooking, because it will lengthen cooking time if added sooner.)

This cooking method works extremely well for pinto and black beans and reasonably well for kidney, lima, and other types of beans.

Sprout Beans Before Cooking

Another sure-fire way of eliminating intestinal tremors is to sprout your beans for two days before cooking them in the traditional manner. This process changes the chemical structure of the troublesome carbohydrates, but honestly, I think it changes the taste of the beans too.

See more substitutions and cooking tips or browse all recipes.

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