FitFitBanner Images

Kitchen Wisdom Kitchen Wisdom

Beans… More than a Children’s Rhyme

November 4th, 2010 - By Lari Robling

Share on Tumblr

Dried beans are known as a superfood — a nutritional plant powerhouse of proteins, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Plus, they fill us up which makes them a great way to use a little meat as a flavor agent instead of a main dish, or a perfect ingredient for Meatless Monday.

Canned beans are an easy staple to have in the pantry — just rinse and drain before you add to your dish. Don’t overlook starting from scratch with dried beans, though. It takes a little more planning but the texture and flavor profile is worth it. My grandmother used to cover her beans with water and soak them overnight, but I find the quick soak method works well, too. Cover the beans with water and bring them to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow the beans to re-hydrate for about an hour or so. Drain and follow your recipe from there.

And, about the children’s rhyme about the gassy nature of bean eating? In her book, “Beans,” culinary educator Aliza Green notes that it is the complex sugar molecules known as oligosaccharides that can cause our musical bean interlude. Human enzymes don’t easily digest oligosaccharides so the job is left to intestinal bacteria which ultimately give off the gas.

There are about as many opinions on the subject of bean flatulence as there are beans. And some of them are, excuse me, full of beans. In general, though, the fresher the bean the less likely you are to have intestinal upset. If you soak your own dried beans, change the water several times, which helps leach out the oligosaccharides. And, if you aren’t used to bean consumption add them to your diet gradually in small quantities and drink plenty of water to ease digestion.

Lentils are the least likely to be offensive so I offer this recipe from my cookbook, Endangered Recipes.

RECIPE: -Lentils and Rice (Riz-be-Adees) »

Photo by Flicker user magical-world / CC BY-NC 2.0

Comments are closed.

Photo by Flicker user Yolise / CC BY-NC 2.0

About Lari Robling
Lari Robling's food career had its early beginnings as a home ec teacher for the visually impaired. Later, she decided to become a food professional and worked for caterers and restaurants. Lari landed her first job in a test kitchen for a small health food publication, Delicious! magazine. From there, she began a freelance career as a food stylist and food consultant. She is also the author of Endangered Recipes: Too Good to Be Forgotten.

Watch the replay!

WEBCHAT: Is the Glass Half Full or Empty?

How many soft drinks are too many for kids? Join Chef Ann Cooper as we chat about sugary beverages in schools.

More webchats »

December 2014
« Jun    

Philly Food Bucks!
Philly Food Bucks are coupons that help ACCESS/food stamp customers save money on fruits and vegetables. Philly Food Bucks can be redeemed for $2 worth of fruits and vegetables for every $5 spent in ACCESS/food stamps at a participating farmers' market. Learn more about Philly Food Bucks at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health's recently expanded web site Food Fit Now also accepted at the West Oak Lane Weaver's Way Food Coop.

Get Healthy Philly is part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work Initiative, a federal effort to: prevent and delay chronic disease, reduce risk factors, promote wellness in children and adults, and provide positive sustainable health change in our communities.

Food Fit Philly is part of Get Healthy Philly, a program that works to reduce and prevent obesity and related chronic diseases (like heart disease and diabetes) by increasing access to healthy foods that people can afford.

Your body needs help when it's time to quit. SmokeFree Philly is a program of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health that offers support and tools to help smokers quit. The goal of SmokeFree Philly is to: help people to quit smoking, stop people from starting to use tobacco, and reduce heart disease, cancer and other illnesses caused by smoking.

Got a question for Fit? Want to submit your own "fit and fresh" recipe? Have a good story idea for us?

Contact us at