Many people find beans difficult to digest, resulting in pain, bloating and flatulence from gas (See Reference 1). Some beans, such as navy beans, tend to create more intestinal problems than other types, but regardless of the bean type you cook, careful preparation can eliminate some of the embarrassing and uncomfortable effects (See References 1 and 2). Dried beans need to soak to soften before being cooked. Using baking soda during this process can help reduce the gas which consumption of the finished product creates (See Reference 2).
Things You'll Need
Put the dried beans in a pot and add enough water to cover them.
Heat the water until it starts to boil and then remove from the burner. This process breaks the skin of the beans, allowing the gas-producing starches within them to release into the surrounding water (See References 1 and 2).
Pour off the water, rinse the beans thoroughly, cover the beans with fresh water and add about one teaspoon of baking soda to the mix (See References 1 and 2).
Let the beans soak at least overnight (See References 1 and 2). When they have soaked enough, they will have doubled in size (See Reference 1). This process may take up to a full 24 hours for some beans (See Reference 1). Some sources suggest that 48 hours may be appropriate since a longer soaking helps leech out more of the gassy sugars (See Reference 3).
Rinse the beans thoroughly several times during the soak to wash off traces of the gaseous sugars the baking soda soak released (See Reference 2) and prevent them from being reabsorbed into the beans (See Reference 3).
Warm water works best, approximately 120 degrees F (See Reference 3).
References and ResourcesSavvy Vegetarian; How To Eat Beans Without Gas; April 2005
DrMirkin.com; De-gassing Beans; 2011
The Weston A. Price Foundation; Putting the Polish on Those Humble Beans; Katherine Czapp; February 28, 2007