Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: southern Oregon
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Don't quick-soak, as is directed on some packages. Beans should be soaked 12-24 hours, preferrably in warm water with 1 tbsp lemon juice or whey per cup of bean stirred in, leave in a warm place (I put the bowl in the oven, turned off). Pour off water, and add fresh. If using chick-peas, peel off skin. Bring to boil and let boil 10 minutes. When foam develops, skim off! Reduce heat, cover and cook 4-8 hours.
This may seem like a lot of time and effort, but it is the only way to break down complex sugars (which contribute to gas), neutralize phytic acid (left unneutralized it combines with minerals in the digestive tract, making them unavailable for proper absorption, thus causing mineral deficiencies and osteoporosis-this is why many macrobiotic followers who rely heavily on grains, of which most is unsoaked, develop this condition), and enzyme-inhibitors. At first, digesting beans that have not been prepared for this long, may not seem too difficult, but there are many people, including me, who find that after a couple of years of eating a more wholesome diet with whole grains and legumes (which have not been properly prepared) digestion becomes weakened. So, it's very important to follow these steps. All traditional cultures always prepared their grains, legumes, seeds and nuts by soaking, fermenting and sprouting to remove antinutrients that cause intestinal distress.
Of course, most of us don't have the time to do this every day, so cook in big batches and freeze.
BTW, lentils only need 7 hours of soaking, and is the most nutritious of legumes.
Adding seaweed my be a good idea for some, but for westerners who are not accustomed to seaweed, this maybe too difficult to digest since they are made up of very long complex sugar chains.