The more you eat, the more you toot
Ask any child old enough to recognize a plate of beans what the likely consequence of gorging on them will be, and you most likely receive a knowing smile that stretches from ear to ear and back again. Let's be frank, there is an infamous connection between beans and an uncomfortable predisposition towards horrible flatulence.
This article seeks to alleviate discomfort by suggesting ways to cook and prepare beans with an emphasis on removing their barbs without compromising flavor and taste.
A foundation of flatulence
Unfortunately, the preface for any bean enthusiast lies mostly in the invisible world of chemistry and biology. So, without fear or favor, we address the first question as eloquently as possible:
Why do beans cause bad gas?
Beans contain oligosaccharides, which are very large molecules which the human body is not able to break down because it lacks the necessary enzyme. Thus, these molecules travel all the way down the gastrointestinal tract without being broken down by the lining of the small intestine. Ultimately, the large intestine breaks the molecule down into gases, which, to put it mildly, have only one exit strategy - the rectum.
How do we remove gas from beans?
If we're using dry beans you're going to want to soften them up by doing the following:
- Soak them - Immerse the beans in water for roughly 12 hours so that they fully absorb the surrounding water.
- Boil 'em - The next step involves boiling them for around 15 minutes, remember to change the water!
- Rinse 'em - The above steps should be followed by draining.
The following procedure may appear lengthy, but it is free and is generally regarded as being an effective "cure" for intestinal unpredictability. For those who need a last-minute or less intense approach to a drama-free cuisine session, third-party solutions offer solace as well:
- Beano - Beano is a dietary supplement that contains the much wanted alpha galactosidase, which is the enzyme needed to break down the complex sugar molecule we mentioned earlier. The problem with this is that there are a number of health hazards you should know in advance.
- Flatulex - Flatulex acts not by providing the missing enzyme but by breaking down the gases (which in turn where broken down from the sugar molecule). More information on Flatulex can be found here.
Cooking And Recipes
Beans contain an incredible number of useful traits. They are high in Iron, a great choice for anemic people, they also contain folate carbohydrates and protein. The relatively mild number of calories in beans, while providing a veritable umph of energy, make them a great all-round dietary choice.
Ham and beans soup!
Different types of beans may be used, although I personally prefer black beans. After digging around cyberspace for a while, I decided to act upon a particularly inviting suggestion by the iFood network which can be read in full here.
- 1 large onion
- Vegetable oil
- Two tablespoons of chili powder
- A cup of Original Bisquick
- 2 cans of black beans
- A third of a cup of cornmeal
- Two-thirds of a cup of milk
- 2 ounces of cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 2 cups of fully cooked ham cubes
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Preparation and cooking
Preparation is as follows as detailed by the original article hosted on iFood:
1.Heat oil in 4-quart Dutch oven over medium heat.Cook onion and bell pepper in oil, stirring occasionally, until tender. Stir in beans, ham and 1 teaspoon of the chili powder. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low.
2. Stir Bisquick mix, cornmeal and milk and remaining 1 teaspoon chili powder in medium bowl until soft dough forms. Drop by 6 spoonfuls onto simmering bean mixture.
3. Cook uncovered 10 minutes. Cover and cook 8 minutes longer. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and cook about 2 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. High Altitude (3500-6500 ft) After dropping dough onto bean mixture, cook uncovered over medium-low heat 12 minutes. Cover and cook 10 minutes longer. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and cook 2 minutes.
Common Complants and Questions
Removing gas from beans by soaking, boiling and rinsing is a myth - There seem to be different contrasting opinions on this. While researching the phenomena, it is clear that the process does indeed remove the gas, it is the amount that is debated. I advise a common sense approach to the issue. Try it yourself.
Removing gas also removes nutrients - Patently false. The California Dry Bean Advisory Board have concluded that if anything, soaking the beans preserves the bean's valuable nutrients as well as increasing cooking times.
The beans do not soften - Different beans require different soaking times. In this article's case, black beans require a substantial amount of time to soak adequately. The general rule of thumb is that all beans require at least several hours, optimally, an overnight soak is best.
Please browse the following table to get a better idea
|Type of bean||Soaking Time|
Red Mexican Beans
- Just Bean Recipes - 4,257 bean recipes for you to browse.
Extensive collection of unique bean recipes. Each recipe has an ingredient listing, preparation instructions and a printer-friendly version.
Enjoy an untroubled digestion
The procedure for removing gas from beans can be used in just about any recipe, giving you the freedom to emply beans as a staple in your diet (an almost necessity for vegans and vegetarians) without having to sweat the side-effects. I hope you enjoyed this hub, and I look forward to receiving and comments or suggestion you'd like to add. I'd love nothing more than to incorporate them here!
All the best,
Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on February 17, 2012:
In Peru, the locals recommend boiling beans for 5 minutes, throwing out the water, then refilling the pot and boiling beans with a handful of mint leaves. It seems to work!
marnie naidoo on January 22, 2012:
Soak Rinse and slow boil with 1tsp vinegar and cinnamon sticks . Skim the bubbles . Works well for me
shaktilove from nearby You - just behind 2 screens on September 08, 2011:
Dear thooghun :) there is good advice from our ancestry - to relief a statement after beans-eating, it is good to add a cumin (and/or fennel seeds), when You cook.
Sun-Girl from Nigeria on May 21, 2011:
Great info which i loved a lot.
sunflowers on January 17, 2011:
I think soybeans could be the culprit in sudden infant death syndrome. Being that, while soybean formula is well liked, babies may not be old enough to handle ALL the flatulence soybeans produce. Can a baby with way to much flatulence fall prey to a body gas attack and maybe even die?
James Nelmondo (author) from Rome, Italy on July 29, 2010:
Winsome from Southern California by way of Texas on June 12, 2010:
Thoog, thanks for a well-written hub. You approached a sensitive subject with professionalism and practical wisdom. I feel safer now than I have ever bean. =:)