Beans and lentils are nutritional powerhouses. They are delicious to eat, but they have a bad reputation of being gaseous and hard-to-digest. The root cause lies in their outer covering, which contain
anti-nutrients (compounds that can interfere with digestion and absorption of nutrients) such as lectins and phytic acids. These anti-nutrients are actually natural phytonutrients that seeds use as insecticides to protect themselves from the radiation of sun, insects, and invasions from fungi, viruses and bacteria. Also, this protective covering allows these foods to be stored for long periods without them turning rancid or going bad. Why Soak Beans And Lentils? Soaking mimics the natural germination process and transforms the seed that is dormant and indigestible into the seed that is full of nutrients and full of digestibility. It works to neutralise these anti-nutrients, and encourage production of vital digestive enzymes. Soaking not only deactivate the harmful nutrients, it activate all the goodness of the seed and increases its nutritional value multifold. In addition, the process of soaking breaks down the difficult-to-digest carbohydrates and protein into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption. How to Soak Beans and Lentils Firstly, to reduce their cooking time, as few decades ago people didn t have abundant supply of gas or electricity for cooking, unlike today. Secondly, traditional people were very wise in selecting and preparing the food. I have always seen my mother soak the beans and lentils, and even rice prior to cooking. With no degree in nutrition, she knows that doing so helps improve their digestibility and nutrition. Pre-soaking doesn t require elaborate techniques or equipment.
It s really very simple. All that is necessary is a bit of planning. Soak the beans or lentils in cold water. I use filtered water. Soaking time varies between 8 to 24 hours, depending on the size and hardness of the seed. Large beans such as garbanzo (chickpeas), kidney beans, dried peas need 12 hours or more, where as small seeds like black eye beans, adzuki beans, brown or green lentils take less than 8 hours. After soaking most of the seeds will almost double in size. Throw the excess water that is left over and rinse with fresh water (the soak water contains the anti-nutrients and gas causing enzymes). Then cook, or leave them to sprout. You can use the left over water from soaking to water your plants, and no these anti-nutrients doesn t affect the plants. In fact this water is very nourishing for them. Since I am a vegetarian (actually eggitarian), these wonderful tasting, nutrient dense foods are part of my daily diet. They are an excellent source of protein, iron, folic acid, dietary fiber, B vitamins, and many more nourishing nutrients. So my kitchen counter is always occupied with multicoloured, beautiful lookingВ beans and lentils, either left to soak or sprout. A very useful appliance to cook them is the pressure cooker. And if you want to make beans and lentils part of your every day diet, then this little gadget В is a must have, as it will save you cooking time, and also retain the nutrients. Happy Soaking!! Soaking lentils play a critical part in my traditional cooking repertoire. Low in phytic acid and other anti-nutrients, lentils require only a quick soak before they are ready to cook unlike beans. If you sometimes have trouble digesting beans like I do, even when properly soaked and cooked, lentils are a wonderful alternative.
There are 3 types of lentils: Pgreen, brown, and red. I typically use green lentils as they hold their shape very well after cooking, but I have recently found the red lentil to be simply delightful in soups. When combined in a dish with as shown in this week s video, lentils make an economical, nutritious alternative to meat. P The and I used organic vegetables and organic lentils! PThis is about 25 cents a serving! Even the cheapest fast food can t beat that! In tough economic times, incorporating lots of lentils into your meals is a smart way to keep the food budget in check without sacrificing anything in nutrition! Incidentally, considered lentils to be the most nutritious of all legumes as they are loaded with potassium, calcium, zinc, iron, and B vitamins. P I first learned this at the 2007 Wise Traditions Conference during Sally Fallon Morell s talk on Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. P The soup recipe I show you how to make in this video is an adaptation of the lentil soup recipe Sally discussed during that seminar. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family has over the past few years! In the video below, I show you how to soak lentils prior to cooking them. This reduces phytates and other anti-nutrients so all the nutrition in the lentils can be easily absorbed. Making sure you do this preparation step also will reduce any gas that you might experience from cooked but unsoaked lentils. As discussed in the video above, soaking lentils prior to cooking significantly enhances the nutritional value of these tasty legumes. If time is a concern, you can soak large batches of lentils, rinse/low temperature dry and then freeze. This way, when you want to make a recipe using lentils, you can just grab some out of the freezer and cook immediately rather than have to wait several hours or overnight to soak some first.
If you wish to save even more time, you can skip the step requiring soaking lentils and use sprouted lentils instead. I have actually switched over to using sprouted lentils most of the time now that quality organic ones are available at the healthfood store. You can use either or the (black, red, and green lentils). The trio is my favorite. Note: never use the soaking water from lentils for cooking. This new practice, known as, is not traditional and has many dangers to your health. This basic lentil soup uses soaked lentils as the base. Others to try includeP,Pa deliciousPvariation of the soup recipe above. Another recipe to try using soaked lentils is. Makes approximately 1 gallon of soup Ingredients 3 cups red or green lentils, soaked for 7 hours, rinsed and drained (alternatively, useP instead). 3 organic onions, peeled and chopped 3 carrots, peeled and sliced 2 quarts homemade stock (, or (half stock, half filtered water may be substituted) 1/2 tsp green peppercorns, ground Instructions In a large pot, cook onions and carrots in butter and extra virgin olive oil until soft (about 20-30 minutes). P Add stock and lentils and bring to a boil. P PSkim off foam that rises to the top just before boiling with a large, slotted spoon. P Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender about 20 minutes. P P Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and curry paste if desired. Blend soup with a handheld blender right in the pot. Taste. Add ground green peppercorns and sea salt as desired. Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist Sources: P