1. yes, unless you want an EXTREMELY musical evening
you can do a cheat with a "quick soak"
All dry beans and legumes except lentils, mung beans, and split peas should be soaked before cooking. Soaking shortens the cooking time and makes the beans more digestible. To soak, cover the washed beans with four times their volume of water, then choose one of these soaking techniques.
1. Normal soak: Leave the beans to soak for 4-8 hours. This is the traditional and healthier method of soaking beans. (If you put them on to soak at night, they'll be waiting for you whenever you're ready the next day.) 2. Quick soak: Bring the beans to a boil for one minute, cover, and let sit for one hour.
The beans are soaked once they are uniformly tender.
After soaking, you have the choice of 1. draining the soaking water, rinsing the beans, and cooking with fresh water, or 2. cooking with the soaking water. The former reduces flatulence, while the latter provides more nutrients.
11. The theory is that soaking removes some of the
polysaccharides in the beans, thus reducing gas. The theory is also that soaked beans will have a shorter cooking time.
The latter theory is accurate if you're at sea level and not pressure cooking the beans; the former is only minimally true. Yes, you do get rid of some of those indigestible complex sugars (we can't eat 'em, but the bacteria in our colons love 'em, hence the nether eruptions), but most of them stay locked tightly within the bean.
The good news is that your gut eventually adapts to a diet heavy in legumes, as any veg-head will tell you, and the eruptions lessen in number and velocity and you're fit for human companionship in a relatively short time. However, if you're a once a month baked bean diner, just resign yourself to the fact that you'll embarrass yourself in public the next day.
Whether or not I soak depends on the bean and the cooking method. If I'm going to cook small beans in the crock pot overnight, I soak them. If I'm going to pressure cook larger beans (and at 6000 feet, that's the only way they ever get done), then I just wash them and toss them in.
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