I've had my chickpeas soaking for 24 hours. Is it okay to leave them soaking for an additional 24 before I cook them, or should I drain them now and store them, uncooked but soaked, in the fridge?
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I would do the latter. That way, no more nutrients leach out. Fridge also good, keeps them from quickly fermenting.
Personally I would also do the latter. You are simply losing nutrients and flavor the longer you keep them in the water. Note that in some cultures, people cook dry beans without soaking them (the Mexicans do this).
When you soak beans, you are basically prioritizing convenience (faster cooking time) over nutrition/flavor.
It's really your call on what you consider a priority. We can't make that decision for you.
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I sprout all of my beans. That means soaking overnight or 24 hours. Then, you drain them and let them sit in a strainer over a bowl and moisten them every six to eight hours until they develop a cute, tiny white sprout. It turns them into a bean that is creamier and more like a vegetable to digest. I vaguely remember someone asking if they could simply leave them in water for longer. The answer was no because then they sit in the liquid that contains the stuff you don't want (phytates). That long story was to say..I'd drain them and then cover them and refrigerate them unless you want to give a shot at sprouting them. That takes 2-3 days though.
Oops, I decided to drain them and put them in fresh water. I'm planning to cook them tonight though. Think they'll be okay? Or totally drained of the good stuff?
You threw away most of the nutrients and some of the flavor, but they will be acceptable.
No big deal. You also can cook it in that water since you threw out the one with a lot of the stuff you don't want. There isn't all that much of the nutrients lost according to this vegan site from a study done on bean nutrition and soaking. YMMV because of the two day soak, but not by much. My sprouted beans cook very fast. I think your long soaked beans will too so watch them carefully.
Read the Plenteous Vegetable blog entry carefully. There is very little nutrient loss if you cook the beans in the soaking water. However, there are some water-soluble nutrients that will be lost if you throw out the bean soaking water.
Here are some of Harold McGee's thoughts on the matter:
"The main reasons for presoaking beans are to shorten the cooking time substantially, and to leach out the indigestible carbohydrates that make beans gassy. The disadvantage of presoaking is that you also leach out many other soluble materials, including vitamins and minerals.
You retain more nutrients by cooking the beans in the soak water, but you also retain the gassy carbohydrates. I recommend soaking beans, then cooking them in the same water at a bare simmer for at least a couple of hours, even if they’re soft before then. Extended cooking breaks down the gassy carbohydrates."
Source: NY Times:
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I've left them for two days a number of times. Have never seen or tasted any reason not to do it - when necessary. I wouldn't drain and store them uncooked.
I'm not sure why you say this unless you've never done it. Drained covered and stored is something I've done many times over the years with not one problem. They stay moist and perfectly fresh.