Stalking the Magical Bean
Since ancient times, many varieties of beans have been a part
of the growth & survival of cultures worldwide. Ancient Greeks believed
that Apollo was responsible for ripening the crops and honored him with
an annual "bean feast". The Celts also had bean celebrations called
"Beanos." Cuisines around the world have been enriched by the
variety of beans that were cultivated for centuries by Native Americans.
In more recent American tradition, "bean feast" refers to a dinner
given by a crew's boss for the laborers.
Beans - raw, dried, canned, frozen or cooked - don't lose any of their usable
fiber because they remain unrefined from the field to market to your table.
The soluble fiber in beans is an aid to digestion and is of the type shown
to lower blood cholesterol levels. They can be beneficial in controlling
weight because their ratio of calories to usable protein is very low compared
to meat and dairy products. Adding beans to the diet can also prevent overeating
because they absorb moisture and increase their bulk as they move through
Beans offer the same kind of energy as other high carbohydrate foods (breads,
cereals, rice, etc.) but are a boon to diabetics and hypoglycemics: eating
them does not trigger a rise in blood sugar or the need for insulin production
that is caused by the other high carbohydrate foods.
"it's all right now, in fact it's a gas!"
It is unfortunate that along with the bean family's
myriad good points comes the problem of gas. Beans and other legumes contain
poly-saccharides that we can't digest but our gas-producing gut bacteria
can. Several methods exist to reduce or eliminate intestinal gas from beans.
- 1) Soak the beans and replace the soak water with fresh water for
cooking. The complex sugars tend to leach into the water.
- 2) Cook beans for as long as possible. Heat breaks down the complex
- 3) Cooking beans with the herb epazote also breaks down some of the
- 4) Kombu, a sea vegetable, added to both
the soak water and the cook water also helps break down some of these complex
Bean Soaking and Cooking Times
|| Cooking Time |
|Adzuki ||4||1 hour|
|Lima Beans||4||1 to 1.5 hours|
to 2.5 hours|
|Brown Lentils|| none ||35 minutes|
to 1 hour|
|Split Peas||none||30 minutes|
|Red Kidney Beans||4||1 to 1.5 hours|
Beans ||4||2 hours|
|Soybeans||12||3 to 3.5 hours|
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Natural Foods, Inc.. All Rights Reserved.
This page built by Ray Neff andDavid
ResSeguie Last update: May 23, 1996