How to Cook Pinto Beans That Don't Cause Gas

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Beans are a non-meat protein that are low in fat and high in fiber. You’d think by now someone would have resolved that one little thing that’s not so lovable -- those embarrassing gaseous emissions. High fiber and complex sugars called oligosaccharides are to blame for this problem. Enzymes that encounter these sugars in the digestive tract work overtime to make sure they get digested and, as a result, gas is the side effect. Incorporating a special hot soak, a presoaking method to help break down the complex sugars in dry pinto beans, can prevent gas.

Step 1

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Pour or scoop pinto beans into a large colander. Carefully pick through the beans, removing small stone, sticks, broken beans and any other impurities.

Step 2

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Rinse and clean the beans while they are still in the colander by using cold running water. Stir or swish the beans constantly, so they all get washed.

Step 3

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Place the beans in the pan, pot or slow cooker. Add 10 cups of hot water for each pound of pinto beans. Beans will hydrate two or more times their dry size, so use a pot that is large enough to accommodate them. Ideally, your cooking vessel should never be more than half full.

Step 4

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Slowly bring the beans and hot liquid to a simmering boil and let them boil for two or three minutes. Remove the pot from heat -- or turn off the slow cooker -- and cover the container, allowing the beans to soak for at least one hour, but ideally for four hours. During this hot soak, you are drawing out indigestible, gas-causing carbohydrates.

Step 5

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Discard the soak water by pouring it down the sink. Cover the beans with fresh water and bring them to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until beans are tender but not mushy, which usually takes two to three hours on your stove top and four to six hours in a slow cooker. Prevent bean skins from bursting by simmering gently and stirring very little.

Step 6

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Drain and discard all cooking water when beans are fully cooked and follow your recipe -- adding either fresh water or vegetable or chicken broth, spices, herbs and other ingredients. For plain pinto beans, add a sprinkle of sugar and chopped garlic to greatly enhance flavor. Heat beans to serving temperature.

Things You'll Need

  • Pinto beans

  • Large colander

  • Large covered saucepan or slow cooker

  • Spices, herbs and other recipe ingredients

Tip

When adding fiber to your diet, which is a good idea for bowel health, do so gradually. Make one dietary change at a time to give your system time to adjust. This will greatly decrease the amount of indigestion and gas you develop.

Discard all soaking and cooking water -- even if you soak beans two or three times -- because the indigestible carbohydrates drawn from the beans during soaking are in the water. Important nutrients will not be lost.

You can greatly speed up the cooking time for pinto and other beans by using a pressure cooker.

Warning

Don’t add salt, spices or other ingredients until after the cooking phase, because they will go down the drain when all soaking and cooking liquids are discarded. Acidic ingredients, such as tomatoes, lemon juice, wine and vinegar, delay bean softening so they should be added after cooking.

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