Has anyone ever heard of using baking soda to de-gas beans before making ham and bean soup? I learned this method when I was cooking at the nursing home in order to aid in the digestion of the beans. I have asked numerous cooks, nutritionists, and chefs what (if anything) does the baking soda do to the beans to make them more digestible and I have always been met with a blank stare and an "I have no idea" answer. I've been doing my bean soup this way for over 30 years and I can attest that it truly does "de-gas" the beans. Anyone out there know why? Incidentally, I have only encountered one other person who used baking soda on her beans during the over-night soaking. Interestingly, she was my cousin! Are we following some old wives' tale, back woods lore that is absolutely useless?