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How to "de-gas" beans?

  • m

I am wondering what to put in beans..while they cook...in order to reduce the gassy side effects. I know about beano and gas-x. Any suggestions that have worked for you are greatly appreciated!

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  1. I know. I know.

    Narsai David, who had a call-in cooking show answered this question at least ... at least ... once a week. It became a running joke.

    Put the beans in rapidly boiling water and let them boil for two minutes, then let them sit for an hour. Discard the water and continue cooking.

    After listening to this almost weekly for years, I forgot the science behind it, but it works.

    *** Note: Added this comment

    Ok, had to Google what the reason was behind this.

    Beans have a coating of sugars that we can't digest so the non-digested sugar .. well, you know. Soaking them removes most of the sugar. This link has a better explanation


    Anyway, turned up some other suggestions in that Google. Anyone tried these?

    - Soak beans in Sprite overnight and then rinse with water
    - add a potato while cooking (starch trumps sugar perhaps?
    )- add epazote
    - add ginger
    - bring a pot of beans to a boil Add 1 - 2 tablespooss of baking soda. Let sit overnight. Rinse beans cover with new water, bring to a boil and simmer until tender.

    7 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      Okay...but are they done cooking after they sit for an hour??

      1. re: melly

        No, as the last sentence says, after discarding the water, cover with new water (implied) and continue cooking until done (stated).

      2. re: rworange

        I was taught to add baking soda to the first boiling then rinse and cover with water and simmer. I have also found if you make them a regular part of your diest it becomes less of an issue.

        1. re: Candy

          I've read something similar - to soak with a pinch of baking soda. I think it was a Paula Wolfert tip.

        2. re: rworange

          One problem with throwing out the water is that you lose some of the flavor and nutrients.

          You can buy an additive that contains an enzyme called "alphagalactosidase," which will help digestion.

          1. re: rworange

            The potato does not work..not for me. I will check out the website...and thanks! You are a lifesaver..well, to my spouse you will be.

            1. re: melly

              My sister put a potato in beans once. Along comes me, not knowing why the potato was in there. I ate the potato, and everything it had absorbed. Severe gut pains ensued, LOL.

          2. I think the longer you soak the easier digestion... I mean, I let mine sit in a big jar of water (in the fridge of course) for days, even weeks, before I rinse and cook.

            2 Replies
              1. re: Darren72

                They taste fine, like beans.
                I rinse them fresh after all that soaking, and the "for weeks" part is a true story, but I only did that once... it worked very well for my digestive system.
                I don't think the taste is locked into all that gassy stuff (I dunno), and you really see the fuzzy stuff that soaks out of them when you soak them that long.

            1. Use Kombu. Just add a strip to the cooking water of dried beans. It leaves no flavor, shortens the cooking time, and aids in digestion.

              2 Replies
              1. re: isadorasmama

                What is Kombu and where can it be bought?

                1. re: rworange

                  It's a thick seaweed. You can get it at any Japanese market, or Tokoyo Fish. Just ask for Kombu (Kom Boo)It does work, but so does the boil, let sit, change water method. Never add salt until the beans are done.

              2. I think the best way to mitigate the gassy effects of beans is to eat them a lot. Seriously. Like nearly every day or every other day. At some point, they cease to produce the intestinal reaction.

                3 Replies
                1. re: butterfly

                  Just what I was going to suggest, that is the best solution.

                  1. re: coll

                    Agree - but the adaptation is not permanent; you have to eat them frequently to maintain your tolerance.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      I used to not able to tolerate at all. Now I eat maybe once or twice a week and problem solved. I built up resistance by using BeenO but not necessary anymore.

                2. Indian cooking always includes a tiny pinch of asafoetida (called heeng in Hindi) - especially when cooking daal (any lentil) or beans. It's a tree resin in powdered form. It is very pungent, so a little goes a long way and it has digestive properties that soothe or settle an uneasy stomach. Ask for powdered Heeng in you local Indian Grocery store. Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone recommends using either asafoetida or epazote (a Mexican herb) when cooking beans.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sweetTooth

                    I will get the Kombu and the Heeng...I'll try em both. I do eat lots of beans (as I am almost vegetarian). Almost there. Certain foods I cannot give up on yet..like salmon, a great burger, roasted chicken. Well, I could go on. But I only eat meat a couple of times a week now.

                  2. Or, buy Beano at the drugstore. Don't cook with it, just eat two or three tablets discreetly after you have taken a couple bites of the beany dish. Don't try cooking with it, it doesn't work if heated like that.

                    1. If you are adding Beano, read the label. People with certain allergies are not supposed to use it. I can't quite recall, but I think the specific allergy is mould. Check it for yourself to be safe.

                      1. I don't know if this has any validity, but it seems to me that I read that you soak or cook your next batch of beans with the water that you used for your last batch. Doesn't really make sense to me, though, from the little I know about why the beans cause the problems they do.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: kayandallie

                          i usually cook my beans in the crock pot and what i'd like to know is there a way to reduce th gas after you've already started cooking. unfortunately thats what has already happen today. i guess i should've signed up for this page previously.

                        2. I found an old 1912 cook book, which suggested that after soaking beans, they be brought to a high boil...the scum which surfaces is to scooped off. After a few minutes at a high boil, the beans are to be drained and rinsed in cold water and then added to fresh cold water and brought to a boil again. This process is to be repeated approx. 3 times. If after this there is no longer that greyish scum forming when boiling, the beans are left to boil, with the lid off.
                          I don't know how or why this works, but it does. I have used this method ever since and had no problems with gassy beans.
                          Hope this helps someone else too.

                          1. After reading that the gas happens when intestinal bacteria break down sugars that are not digested, I came to the conclusion that if one is eating beans in hopes of helping control blood sugar and/or cholesterol, it's better not to use anything that promotes the digestibility of these oligosaccharides.

                            1. Man, you folks are determined to take all the fun out of beans.