SPROUTING LARGE BEANS: PROBLEMS
by Tom Billings
The following was posted on veg-raw, an e-mail list for raw
food vegetarians. It is a reply to the question: how can I eat large, crunchy sprouted
beans like kidney beans?
A: Raw kidney beans reportedly are toxic when eaten in large
amounts; the toxin is eliminated by cooking. As raw kidney bean sprouts have a bitter,
highly unpleasant flavor it could be difficult to consume a harmful amount. Some people
who have tried to eat them raw, reported to me that they could not keep them down; they
involuntarily vomited after eating them! Anyway, if you insist on eating kidney beans the
best way is to sprout them for 1-1.5 days and then cook the sprouts - they require less
cooking than dry/soaked beans. Cooked large sprouted beans are not bitter - their taste is
similar to that of unsprouted, cooked beans - and they generally produce little or no
flatulence (a good reason to sprout, then cook, large beans if you wish to eat them).
Most of the large beans contain enzyme inhibitors and are
very hard to digest when raw. Further they usually produce large amounts of
gas/flatulence, which is not good for you in the long run. The enzyme inhibitors are
destroyed by the heat of cooking; because of this some raw food authors suggest that large
beans be cooked before eating, if you choose to eat them. (Certainly there are many other
seeds that can be sprouted and eaten raw). Another factor that prevents one from eating
raw, sprouted large beans is their taste - extremely bad, so bad that most simply cannot
tolerate eating them!
There are limited uses for some of the raw, sprouted large
beans. Sprouts of black beans, blackeye peas, and small red beans, are sometimes used in
small quantities as a flavoring ingredient in sprouting mixtures and/or salads (in effect,
used as a condiment). Sprouted garbanzos, peanuts (also a legume - not a nut), and peas
can be eaten alone or used as ingredients for recipes such as raw hummus. Soybean sprouts
when short are bitter, astringent, and inedible unless cooked; if sprouted long enough
they are (theoretically) edible raw, though you may find their taste
Keep in mind that there are many other sprouting seeds,
including many small beans/legumes (lentils, garbanzos, beans: mung, adzuki, urad, moth,
etc.) that are edible when raw. Perhaps you can substitute small sprouted beans for large
in your food preparation?