Quick-Soak Method for Beans – Ask Annie
I frequently forget to soak beans overnight. I’ve heard that there is a quick-soak method. Do you know what it is? After reading that there is a toxic plastic (bisphenol A, or BPA) in can linings, I am trying to cook my own beans.
Yes, and this is the method I use all the time. You are absolutely correct to avoid canned beans at this time, given that the lining of the vast majority of canned goods contains the endocrine disrupting chemical BPA.
Soak the beans as long as you can, rinse, and then place in a pot and cover with water. Bring the beans to a rapid boil for a few minutes, remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for an hour. Rinse the beans thoroughly, replace the water with clean water, and proceed with the recipe. If soaked for a few hours before the quick boil, beans generally need only about half an hour of actual cooking time to reach the right texture and softness for eating. Note that beans contain a sugar, oligosaccharide, that is hard for the human digestive track to break down, resulting in flatulence. This quick-soak method of cooking beans seems to work as well as the long-soak method for helping to break down oligosaccharide so it doesn’t have such a strong effect.
By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).