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Bean preparation for maximum nutrient availablity

 
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Sprouting, soaking, fermenting etc.?

I wonder how the people who lived off beans as one of their staples, like the Aztecs, prepared beans. They knew corn should be nixtamalized, but what did they do to beans to make them more bioavailable?
 
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Benton Lewis wrote:Sprouting, soaking, fermenting etc.?

I wonder how the people who lived off beans as one of their staples, like the Aztecs, prepared beans. They knew corn should be nixtamalized, but what did they do to beans to make them more bioavailable?



They boiled them and mixed them with rendered animal fat. You only see bean sprouting commonly in Asia. It was probably done elsewhere, but I have never seen evidence to support it. I am very knowledgable in the food of Mexico and I have not heard of any recipe where beans are prepared any other way than being boiled. (Refried beans are also boiled.) As far as I know, the process of soaking seeds in lime water is solely used for grains. And while sprouts are used in modern Mexican cooking, this is a development brought about by the pacific galleon trade where foods and ideas were among the trade goods going back and forth from Manila to Verracruz. To this day there are tamales and champurado in the Philippines and the spices of Asia influence modern Mexican cooking strongly. But ancient native cooking is a whole other ballgame.
 
Ryan Hobbs
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I would recommend preparing beans as they are in Japan. Soybeans alone have many uses there: tofu, soymilk, miso, soysauce, etc... and mungbeans are sprouted. The azuki bean is used almost exclusively in sweets, but once in a while you see sprouts. I love azuki bean sweets. The flavor is fruity without acidity or tartness. It pairs well with peanutbutter. I put azuki bean jam on waffles and pancakes as well as on wagashi like ohagi, mochi, and in steamed filled buns called manju.
 
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Great question! From what I've read, the best way to eat beans is by soaking dry beans in acidulated water (with lemon juice, or whey from yogurt, or lime juice), then cooking them until they are falling apart (sometimes many hours). I love the texture and flavor of them when I do this process. Sprouting beans is a wonderful way to eat them as well! If you don't know how to sprout, I have a Sprouting Video you can watch, or there's lots of other ones out there. As we know, Asian cultures sprouted/fermented their soybeans, but also ate them fresh. I agree that adzuki sprouts are very tasty. I'm not an expert on Mexican traditional cooking, so I would listen to Ryan's thoughts about it. His point about including a rendered animal fat like lard is a good one, as it helps our body to utilize the nutrients when we have a fat with the beans. Our cells need fat to communicate with each other! So don't discount that part of the equation.

 
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Rosemary Hansen wrote:I'm not an expert on Mexican traditional cooking, so I would listen to Ryan's thoughts about it. His point about including a rendered animal fat like lard is a good one, as it helps our body to utilize the nutrients when we have a fat with the beans. Our cells need fat to communicate with each other! So don't discount that part of the equation.



I lived on Mexican food from age of 7 to 18. My stepdad is an American of Mexican ancestry. My abuela taught me how to cook it. Her side of the family was from southern Mexico in the general vicinity of the state of Oaxaca. It showed in her cooking, tamales, tlaxcali, tortillas, and stews of every type. Even little bowls made of masa and deep fried, and then filled with pork and potato stew with pasilla peppers, queso fresco, and crema. Or for breakfast she would make eggs with chorizo, homemade tortillas, and drinks: coffee with cajeta for the adults and hot chocolate with cinnamon for us kids.
 
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Wow, Ryan! You are so lucky, that sounds amazing. I hope you picked up some skills making those dishes, what an experience!
 
Ryan Hobbs
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Rosemary Hansen wrote:Wow, Ryan! You are so lucky, that sounds amazing. I hope you picked up some skills making those dishes, what an experience!



I did. And I will teach it to future generations. Heck, I wouldn't mind teaching everyone here. I do have a video showing how to make tortillas, refried beans, and rice on my youtube channel. Just the basics really. But I will make more videos in the future with all kinds of food.
 
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We are lucky to be able to use the wisdom of many cultures.  I have been sprouting beans ala East Asian traditions for years as it makes them easier to digest and gives you more bioavailable nutrients.  In my opinion, Mexican traditions are genius for adding foods that "modern scientists" are gradually figuring out are crucial for heatlh like cilantro, epazote, tomatoes, original corn (not modern GMO corn), beans, nixtamalizing grains, etc.
John S
PDX OR
 
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John Saltveit wrote:We are lucky to be able to use the wisdom of many cultures.  I have been sprouting beans ala East Asian traditions for years as it makes them easier to digest and gives you more bioavailable nutrients.  In my opinion, Mexican traditions are genius for adding foods that "modern scientists" are gradually figuring out are crucial for heatlh like cilantro, epazote, tomatoes, original corn (not modern GMO corn), beans, nixtamalizing grains, etc.
John S
PDX OR



The Chinese nixtamalize wheat. It gives their wheat noodles their yellow color and unique texture.
 
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Do any foods eaten along with beans, or a mixture of different types a beans even, make beans more digestible?

I just heard another Aztec staple, chili peppers, eaten along with corn and beans makes their proteins more digestible.
 
John Suavecito
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In Japan, kombu (a type of seaweed) is eaten along with beans for this reason. In Latin America, epazote is eaten for this reason.
John S
PDX OR
 
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Beans and their relatives peas and lentils have been eaten since the dawn of agriculture. There are a few that are poisonous when not fully cooked, such as kidney beans... but as long as your ancestors were predominently farmers, your body should produce the needed enzymes to break them down effectively, of course barring allergies. Since I know my European ancestry back to Roman times, I can confirm their agriculturally based diet for at least 2000 years. I have a Jewish ancestor in the 400s CE and can confirm that the Semites ate legumes starting in the 5000s BCE (this was before Abraham was born). If you are of European or Middle Eastern ancestry, I can't fathom why you would need to  do anything special.
 
John Suavecito
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Well, as I said, if you want more bioavailable nutrition and better digestion.

Maybe those who are around you would appreciate the decrease in farting.
John S
PDX OR
 
Ryan Hobbs
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The enzyme needed to break down beans is alpha-glactosidase. Cantelope, green coffee beans, and yeasts produce it in large quantities. Note that cooking will destroy this enzyme. However in the case of fermentation with yeast, the enzyme will break down the oligosaccharides during fermentation, and cooking it afterwards to kill the yeast is perfectly admissible. The mold Aspergillus oryzae produces a lot of different enzymes that work together to liberate simple sugars from oligosaccharides. This in combination with yeast is known in Korea to produce a potent wine from beans. If the beans are fermented with either yeast or the mold I mentioned above, you will have no gas from it.
 
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Great info Ryan.
Where would one obtain this yeast or mold?
John S
PDX OR
 
Ryan Hobbs
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John Saltveit wrote:Great info Ryan.
Where would one obtain this yeast or mold?
John S
PDX OR



Asian grocery stores have it listed as koji. There are two types, one that is salt tollerant for making soy sauce and miso, and one that is alcohol tollerant for making wines and vinegar.

I just made a post on the process for bean wine in the fermentation section of this forum that gives details on the process.
 
John Suavecito
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Thanks Ryan.
John S
PDX OR
 
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