FoodBaking soda: The secret to perfectly soft and creamy beans in less cooking time

Baking soda: The secret to perfectly soft and creamy beans in less cooking time

Beans and their properties
Beans and their properties
Images source: © Adobe Stock
7:33 AM EST, December 17, 2023

Most people are aware that the key to soft and delicious beans is to soak them before cooking. This practice softens the bean's skin and makes the legume easier to digest. Ideally, you should cook the beans in the same water they were soaked in to maintain as many valuable nutrients as possible. But it's important to remember that salting beans too early can cause them to become hard post-cooking. Instead, you should add salt when the beans are already soft, towards the end of the cooking process.

How do you cook perfectly soft beans?

The secret is to add baking soda. This ingredient aids in breaking down compounds that would otherwise make the beans hard after cooking. So, how much baking soda should be added, and when? One method is to add a flat teaspoon of baking soda to the water in which the beans are being soaked. However, before cooking, the beans should be well-rinsed and covered with fresh water. Alternatively, you could add a pinch of baking soda to the beans as they boil (after they have been pre-soaked). If you add too much, the baking soda can leave an unpleasant aftertaste.

Adding a pinch of baking soda while cooking not only softens the beans but also gives them a creamy texture post-cooking. Beans cooked in this way work perfectly as ingredients in sandwich spreads or purées. Interestingly, baking soda also helps to minimize gas problems after consuming beans; it breaks down substances that cause stomach distress, subsequently reducing the risk of gas in people who face this issue after eating legumes.

Do you know how to prepare soft beans?

Adding baking soda can significantly reduce cooking time and produce softer beans. Typically, it takes about 1.5 hours to cook beans. But if you add a teaspoon of baking soda, you can shorten this process to around 50–60 minutes. It's worth noting, though, that this method may not appeal to everyone, as this amount of baking soda can slightly alter the taste of the beans. For those with refined palates, we suggest only adding a pinch of soda and extending the cooking time to at least an hour.

Baking soda neutralizes the components that cause increased intestinal movement and gas production. There is another approach that can help with reducing gas as well: people who find themselves particularly bloated after eating legumes should soak them for at least 12 hours before cooking. This practice significantly reduces the risk of stomach discomfort post bean consumption.

Beans© Pixabay
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