I stand corrected

Ahh… there's nothing like making a big oversight in what you thought was a well-researched and informationally correct post to keep a blogger humble. 🙂

I goofed in my Baby Steps post on beans. In fact, I've been goofing in my bean cooking these past couple of years and I didn't even know it!

I thought that I was doing it right, just like all of my vegetarian cookbooks told me, soaking in water overnight, then cooking the beans the next day, and skimming off the foam.

However, somehow, in the umpteen times I've read Nourishing Traditions, I missed a very important step! Beans have phytic acid, just like grains, and although soaking in water is helpful, the water should be acidic (or occasionally alkaline, depending on the bean) to thoroughly neutralize the phytic acid. Thanks to Susan, who helpfully pointed this out to me!

If you'd like more info, I found this article on the topic at Weston Price this morning. I've edited my post on cooking dried beans to include this updated information, and I hope you'll all forgive me for giving you the wrong info! See, once again, soooooo very human! But hey, at least I learned something new, right?

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  1. So you need to add a bit of apple cider vinegar (raw)or whey when you soak them also?

    btw. the blog looks great! Glad you added your family pic again!

  2. Thanks Andrea! I’ve actually got new family pics comming- I can’t wait to get them and post one up!

    And yes, you need to add something to make the water acidic, just like when soaking grains (although there a few beans for which you don’t have to). I left specific instructions when I edited the Baby Steps post. Let me know if you still have questions!

  3. Although using an acidic ingredient in your soaking liquid may reduce phytic acid in your beans, it will also result in a less satisfying taste and texture. The beans will tend to be crunchier–a similar effect as when you add salt too soon to your beans.

    Amanda Rose in her Phytic Acid E-course (available from http://www.rebuild-from-depression.com–which I think I may remember you mentioning) says that using extra warm water and a very long soaking (at least 24 hours, I believe) can increase your mineral absorption from those beans by about 50%. That’s pretty significant! This is my method of choice since I really don’t care for the way beans taste when I add an acid medium to them.

  4. Hey Stephanie,
    I second reading the info from Amanda. It is interesting. I was always puzzled by trying to make the water acidic for beans because I knew that you never added acidic things to beans until they were fully cooked, because it would cause them to be crunchy. So I personally been just using water right now. I wonder if soaking extra long would be helpful in just water. After all, they will sprout in just water, if left long enough, right? Something to think about, I guess!

  5. Interesting. I discovered some time ago that adding some baking soda while cooking it “fixed” the problem–That article explains it. I think in the fuure I will try Kombu instead.

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