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Homemade beans and gas

I just don't get it. When I eat canned beans, no gas. When I make beans at home, gas. Painful gas. I eat beans pretty frequently (once every week or so) and canned beans never give me a problem, but I want to eat more homemade beans to avoid BPA. Is it pressure cooking that eliminates the gassy compounds?

ETA I soak them beforehand for 1-2 days.

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  1. Soaking helps a lot.

    Funny because my bf is the exact opposite of you, homemade is fine but canned is a stinky mess.

      1. Beano is most often effective when used according to instructions.

          1. Epazote is supposed to help. You can buy it dried from Penzey's.

            1. Make sure you dump the soaking water and dont cook the beans in it. Thats where all the dissolved gas-causing compunds are. In fact consider changing the soaking water at least once if gas continues to be an issue.

              5 Replies
              1. re: C. Hamster

                I think the processing of the beans for canning eliminates a lot of those gas-producing compounds. Try to source younger dried beans, which require less soaking time. I get mine online from Rancho Gordo. I avoid using baking soda, because it changes the texture of the beans. I'm not epazote's effects are the same when dried, vs. fresh.

                You might consider starting with shelled, split legumes (i.e. dal such as split red lentils, split chick peas, split pigeon peas, split mung beans, etc.). and getting your system used to those. Gradually move to whole versions of those beans then branch out from there. Beans with tougher outer skins are much tougher on my system than those with thinner skins or better yet, no skins.

                I find that using turmeric and asafoetida/hing render beans a little less "farty". Try each separately and together to see if it helps.

                1. re: 1sweetpea

                  I don't find a texture change when using baking soda.

                  1. re: 1sweetpea

                    The thing is, my system is used to beans. I was vegetarian for 20+ years so I ate a lot of beans. I eat them out at restaurants, I use canned ones at least once a week, no problem. But the other day I cooked a big pot at home and have had terrible gas.

                    I am wondering if the pressure-cooking they use for canned beans is what makes them so much less gassy.

                    I also soaked this last batch with baking soda and the texture was perfect.

                  2. re: C. Hamster

                    +1 on this - I have found the beans much less gassy by doing the quick soak method discarding the water and starting over.

                    I get almost no gas from doing it this way. I haven't tried Esposote but latins swear by it...

                    I also make a big pot of beans once every couple of weeks and have found the pre-soak, discard method the best.

                    1. re: C. Hamster

                      I always dump the soaking water, rinse the beans, and then cook them in new water.

                    2. Ole Joe Red, a bbq man in Florida once told me that pineapple was the secret. He diced it and put it in his baked beans; you could see it, but it didn't jump out at you taste-wise. Never could decide if it worked or not, though in my particular case that would have been difficult. ;-)

                      1. I don't know if it's a cooking myth, but soaking beans increases the propensity for gas so soaking 2 days increases the gas production even more.

                        One method that is supposed to reduce the offending molecule is to use the USDA quick soak method. Bring beans to a simmer for two minutes and turn off the heat. Soak beans for an hour or two. This is equivalent to soaking overnight. Also, drain the liquid. Supposedly, draining removes a majority of the indigestible sugars.

                        Also, if you're using a slow cooker, you can skip the soaking, but you need to add more water to account for absorption. I usually cover the unsoaked beans with around 3" of water.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: dave_c

                          I do the quick soak method with my beans as well. I usually soak for only an hour. I never considered that soak time could affect the gas-factor. I'll have to pay attention to that and try both methods with the same beans.

                          1. re: 1sweetpea

                            According to ATK (Cooks Illustrated), gas is produced by bacteria dining on certain complex sugars that your GI system can't digest (i.e. they pass on through to the large intestine).

                            They found that over night soaking did reduce the abundance of those sugars, but that the quick soak (start with boiling water) was even more effective.

                            Baking soda makes the cooking water a bit alkaline, which promotes the breakdown of pectins in the skin. Acid (as in tomatoes) counters that, as do calcium ions (from hard water). So BS affects cooking time, and may make the beans more likely to break. But it doesn't directly affect the complex sugars.

                        2. I use the quick-soak technique Paula Wolfert recommends, with great results.

                          Soak the beans for 1-2 hours. Drain, rinse, put in fresh water. Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes. Drain, rinse, and then cook in fresh water. A lot of the gas that doesn't come out in the soaking will do so in the first simmer.

                          1. Frankly, I think soaking the beans for 1 - 2 days is Way too long. I cook dry beans of all types, using the quick soak method, regularly and never experience any reaction. For the record, I cook beans sometimes in the slow cooker and other times on the stove-top.

                            One other thing: Jacques Pepin says in his Essential Pepin cookbook that most beans in the market are relatively fresh and don't need to be soaked. I've cooked several recipes from this book using various dried beans and he's correct!