How To Sprout Beans
As you probably know beans are vengeful little buggers. They love to wreck havoc on our digestive systems when we dare to nosh on them. You may think that they only produce that uncomfortable tummy feeling we’re all painfully aware of, but there is a lot more to the in-digestibility of beans than just our discomfort.
Fortunately, sprouting beans helps to reduce both the digestive issues associated with these fibrous little morsels and to tame the anti-nutrients contained in them. Read on for more information about the problems with beans and find out how you can make beans better for your body by sprouting them.
Beans Contain Anti-Nutrients
Beans don’t want to be eaten. They want to live and reproduce like any living thing does. Just like animals have defenses to keep them from becoming dinner for another animal, beans (and grains, nuts and legumes, too!) have defenses called anti-nutrients.
These anti-nutrients (lectins and phytic acid are examples of anti-nutrients found in beans, grains, nuts and legumes) bind with nutrients (vitamins and minerals) in the digestive system and carry them out of the body before they can enter the bloodstream and contribute to the health of the animal who is consuming them.
In this way beans in their natural state are bad for your health. The good news is that when beans (which are lovely little seeds) are germinated (read: sprouted) they release those pesky anti-nutrients and become nutrition-packed little plants. The digestive enzyme inhibitor that once make it difficult for your body to digest the beans are neutralized with sprouting.
Sprouting Increases the Nutrition-Content of Beans
Sprouting not only helps beans become more digestible. Sprouting also increases the nutrients in beans. Sprouted beans contain more Vitamin C, the B Vitamins and Carotene.
Of course, it’s not a secret that I prefer to get my nutrition from animal products, fruits and veggies. The paleo/primal diet works best for my body and doesn’t allow for grains, beans or legumes. However, there are just some dishes that I enjoy more when they contain beans. Chili is probably my favorite.
I’m glad to have a way to combat some of the problems with beans so that I can enjoy them in my diet from time to time. Read on to find out how I sprout beans for optimal digestion and nutrition.
How to Sprout Dried Beans
Sprouting dried beans is very easy. The process does take a little time, however, so be sure that you start a couple of days before you want to use the beans in a recipe.
Step 1: First, soak the dried beans overnight. After they’ve been soaked, rinse them until the water runs clear.
Step 2: Let the sprouting begin! Now, you can buy some fancy-dancy bean sprouter to put your beans in for sprouting, but I used my colander. I put a towel under the colander and let the beans drain all day. I rinse them again before bed and again the next morning.
By that evening, they have usually begun to sprout and by the next morning the sprouts are unmistakable.
It is at this point that you can use the sprouted beans in a recipe that calls for beans. To do that rinse the sprouts and then put them in a slow cooker on low for a couple of hours to soften them. (I usually add enough water to just cover the beans and keep them from burning up. I want the beans to absorb the water and not have too much water to drain off. This keeps the nutrients in the beans.)
If you want to actually eat the bean sprouts, you’ll probably want to let them sprout a little longer. I’ve never sprouted beans for the purpose of eating the sprouts, so I’m not much help on just how long to leave them.
Bean sprouts can, in some cases, present a food safety issue. Read this article for more information.
Do you have any tips for sprouting beans? What about information on particular spices that are great with beans and aid in digestion? I almost always use cumin with any bean dish, but I’d like some variety!