Question about fast soaking beans

I have had good luck doing a fast soak of beans, bring to boil for several minutes and then lit sit on the stove for an hour. Most directions call for draining the water after the soak and before cooking. Why? Is this necessary? Thanks in advance.

  • Posted by: SKK
  • May 25, 2011


SKK May 26, 2011
OK, now there is a bean bible weighing in. I wonder what Nathan Myhrvold in Modernest Cuisine has to say? Didn't realize how many different points of view just about beans! Love it.
Author Comment
According to the Rancho Gordo Bean Bible, if you are bringing beans to a boil, you have allready started the cooking process, so you might as well just finish cooking them. Rancho Gordo suggest soaking times for most beans is 2 to 6 hours. we just say overnight because of the convienience.
Sam1148 May 26, 2011
Like susan g says, you can't talk about them in absolutes. Far too many variables.
Some like pressure cooking, others long soak, other quick soak boil/rinse.
I tend to keep dried beans far too they need a 'base'"..a pinch of baking soda to soften them.
Why? Because mostly now I use frozen/fresh beans (such black eyed peas) instead of dried. I think the texture of the frozen beans is superior, more controllable, less fuss and the dried beans are 'fall back PLAN B" options.
SKK May 25, 2011
Thank you both, greenstuff and susan g. Much appreciated!
Greenstuff May 25, 2011
No, of course not completely get rid of all the nuisance compounds! Just the ones that leached into the water. And you're right that there are other techniques.

I think that Harold McGee also thinks a bit along your lines, figuring that long, slow cooking is another way of getting rid of some of those compounds without also rinsing away B vitamins and other water soluble nutrients.
susan G. May 25, 2011
Seems like we can never talk about beans in absolutes. "Completely" gets rid of gas producing compounds? Maybe for some people, not all. And there are other gas-reducing tricks, like adding kombu or a variety of seeds. Sally Schneider (A New Way to Cook) says "flatulence has to do with having the intestinal flora to handle them...So cook the beans in their soaking water, which has a lot of bean flavor, or drain them if you wish."
If you do drain them, you will lose some of the water soluble nutrients, especially B vitamins.
Greenstuff May 25, 2011
Beans are really nutritious, but when we digest them, we stimulate bacteria growth, and that means gas. Soaking, either over a long time at room temperature or with your fast-soak technique, leaches out some of those compounds from the beans and into the water. Rinsing gets rid of those compounds completely.
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