Legumes are pulses, lentils, lupins and beans belonging to the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family and these plants are the world’s third largest group of plant life. The Fabaceae family of plants contains over 20,000 species and 700 genera, of which only some are categorised as leguminous plants. While some pulses are widely known and eaten across the globe, others are found only in certain regions or specific cuisines. Legume 101 is an attempt to help the mindful home cooks to identify various types of legumes and get a brief overview of how to soak, boil and cook your legumes.
** Modified & digitalised graphics from, Pulses: Nutritious Seeds for a Sustainable Future, © FAO, 2016.
To pre-prepare legumes, you will need something to wash and rinse your legumes (a strainer or colander will do) an appropriate bowl in which to soak them, and a pot in which to cook them over low heat.
Once soaked depending on the variety of legumes can increase in volume up to three times, so be sure to use a large enough bowl.
Soaking? Or not Soaking!
It is certainly good to wash your legumes before you cook to remove the traces of dust, tannins and other unwanted residues to make your legume test better but the question is do we really need to soak the legumes for long hours?
Soak and boil your legumes in a larger batch, store them in the refrigerator in their cooking liquid for up to 5 days and use keep them ready for adding into any desired recipes.
Our recommendation is your cook your own beans & legumes from scratch, you’ll benefit from the Prana of a freshly cooked dish while minimising the number of toxins you ingest from canned food.
To lessen flatulence caused by legumes, the best remedy is to drain them after cooking, and then soak them again for one hour in cold water. Discard the water and then continue preparing your recipe.