Published: 1996-04-19


The November 1995 Organic Gardening quoted Dr. George Hosfield, a dry bean researcher with the USDA. “Despite being dried and stored, the beans you grow in your own garden are fresh. Store-bought beans are anywhere from 6 months to a year older than homegrown. As those beans age they get harder. Hardened beans are less likely to soak up water and soften when cooked. The result is starch that doesn’t cook no matter how long you leave your beans on the stove. The starch goes through your stomach undigested, passes into the large intestine and [produces] gas.” He suggests storing the beans in as ideal conditions as possible, namely “a dark place where the temperature [in degrees F] and [percent] humidity added together are less than 100.” [Ed: This is the same formula often used for seedbank conditions.]

“As further insurance against flatulence [gas], soak your beans overnight before cooking them and discard the water. Then when you cook them, make sure the water temperature gets up to at least 200°F. If you don’t eat beans regularly, gradually introduce them into your diet. Eating small amounts of beans frequently, rather than a lot of them once a month, also helps minimize [gas].”