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Let’s Cook Beans in a Pressure Cooker

Dry beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein, fiber and several other nutrients. Dry beans can be used in a variety of ways on your menu, and they are affordable at about 15 cents per serving.

(This is an excerpt from a recent publication. Field to Fork Pressure Cook Dry Beans to Save Money and Time (FN1939) for a printable copy.)

Dry beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein, fiber and several other nutrients. Dry beans can be used in a variety of ways on your menu, and they are affordable at about 15 cents per serving. However, sometimes people shy away from using budget-friendly beans in their dry state because of the time required for soaking and cooking. Some people may be hesitant to increase beans in their diet due to the fear of intestinal gas and stomach discomfort, including increased flatulence. Certain nondigestible carbohydrates, termed oligosaccharides, are responsible.

Try these tips to reduce the occurrence of intestinal gas when eating beans:

  • Increase beans in your diet slowly. For example, you may start by eating 2 to 4 tablespoons of beans per day, and gradually increase each day.
  • Drink more water each day as you eat more beans (or other fiber-containing foods).
  • Use the hot soak method when preparing dry beans. The longer beans soak, the more you will reduce the amounts of the gas-producing compounds.
  • Change the water several times when soaking dry beans, and discard this water when soaking is completed. Many of the gas-causing carbohydrates are released into this soaking water.
  • Rinse canned beans without sauce (such as kidney, navy, Great Northern) before eating or using in recipes.
  • Consider using a gas-reducing enzyme tablet. These tablets are available over the counter in many pharmacies.

While cooking dry beans in a pressure cooker (Instant Pot or similar appliance) is a fairly simple process, they do have a tendency to froth and foam during cooking. Therefore, using the following guidelines is necessary when pressure cooking dry beans:

  • Never fill the pressure cooker more than the half full line. This includes beans, ingredients and water.
  • Pressure cookers must contain a minimum amount of liquid to operate correctly. See manufacturer’s directions.
  • You may add 1 to 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil and up to 1 tablespoon of salt to 1 pound of beans during soaking or cooking. Tests have shown that when oil and salt are added, dry beans keep their shape and exterior skin intact, and froth and foam less during pressure cooking.

See the publication for more details and recipes.

 

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist – NDSU Extension

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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