You may have heard that you’re supposed to refrigerate beans while soaking them overnight. But is this really necessary? And if so, do different types of beans need different types of care?
In this article, we’ll answer all your questions about refrigerating beans while soaking so you can get them just right for dinner time.
Soaking Beans Overnight
There is no reason to refrigerate your beans while soaking them overnight. No bacteria will be present in the beans as long as you cook with them shortly after taking them out of the water. Only after cooking will you refrigerate any leftover beans due to the chance of bacteria forming.
Why Do People Soak Beans Overnight?
Beans have been around since ancient times and it didn’t take very long for humans to figure out that when you soak beans, it makes them much faster and easier to cook.
Beans have an extremely hard outer shell called “bran.” This bran protects the bean from predators but also makes it very difficult for us to digest. Soaking beans overnight helps to break down the bran and makes them much more tender when cooked which can be a lot healthier for you.
Nowadays, people still soak beans overnight for two main reasons: to reduce cooking time and to make them more digestible. Soaking beans also helps to remove some of the indigestible sugars that can cause gas.
When you soak beans the water helps to break down the exterior shell and the inner part starts to absorb the water, making the bean softer.
When you take the beans out of the cold water and throw them into a pot of boiling water they start to break down quicker and it takes less time to cook them fully.
You get a combination of beans that not only cook much faster but are also easier to digest and flow through your system without causing digestive issues.
Why Don’t Beans Need to Be In the Refrigerator?
The reason most foods spoil is that harmful bacteria start to grow. These bacteria need warmth and moisture to thrive, which is why you refrigerate most foods.
The “Danger Zone” is a temperature range in which bacteria thrives and the longer your food is put in this zone the bigger potential for health risk.
You shouldn’t leave your food in the danger zone any longer than 2 hours before you can expect it to start to go bad.
This is true of most foods, but beans don’t really have to worry about bacteria because they don’t contain the moisture that bacteria need to grow.
They are too dry for bacteria to form so they can be left on the shelf for a long time.
When you soak beans in water you are introducing a more susceptible environment, but even then, you don’t have to worry about them growing bacteria because they will ferment instead.
When Would You Put Soaking Beans In The Fridge?
The main reason you’d want to put your soaking beans in the fridge is if you live in temperatures that are very hot and you don’t have adequate air conditioning to keep your home cool.
The hotter the temperatures are the more quickly bacteria can grow and it will speed up the fermentation process very quickly.
The beans will start to ferment and the taste will become altered if it is too hot and they aren’t put in the fridge.
You should always rinse off your beans after letting them soak to get rid of any unwanted taste and residue from the soaking process.
You should also refrigerate any cooked beans that you don’t plan on eating right away. It’s always best to eat them within two days but they will be safe to eat for up to a week if stored properly in the fridge.
Why Do Soaked Beans Start To Fizz?
When beans are soaking in water they start to release a gas called carbon dioxide. This is why you’ll see bubbles forming on the surface of the water when soaking beans.
The fizzing is just the gas escaping from the beans into the air. It’s perfectly normal and doesn’t mean that your beans have gone bad.
This is part of a fermenting process and many different ingredients use this process to create unique flavors and sides. Kimchi is a popular ferment that has a unique taste created through the fermenting process.
You can still cook and eat beans that have started to fizz. You might want to rinse them off first though to get rid of any unwanted changes from the fizzing process.
Do Different Bean Types Require Different Soaking Methods?
Generally, you won’t have to worry about different bean types when soaking them. All beans can be soaked in the same way with no issues.
The only time you might have to adjust your soaking method is if you are cooking a large batch of beans and some of them take longer to cook than others.
You can soak your beans for different lengths of time depending on how long you want them to cook. The longer you soak them the less time they will need to cook.
You can also soak your beans in different liquids to change the flavor. Soaking them in broth or adding spices to the water can give your beans a different flavor profile.
There are many factors that can affect how long it takes for your beans to cook. The size and type of bean will affect how long it takes to cook.
Other factors like the hardness of your water and how old the beans are can also affect cooking time.
If you are having trouble getting your beans to cook evenly then you might need to adjust your soaking method.
Conclusion on Soaking Beans Overnight
It won’t make much of a difference if you refrigerate your soaking beans as long as you cook them soon after removing them from the water. If you live in a hot climate it’s best to refrigerate them so they don’t start to ferment. Otherwise, just make sure you rinse them off before cooking.
Frequently Asked Questions About Soaking Beans Overnight, Do You Refrigerate?
Should you discard bean soaking water?
You can save some of the bean soaking water to throw in a dish you might be making that calls for more liquids. The added flavor will help integrate the beans into your dish and create a blend of flavors.
Do you soak beans overnight in cold or hot water?
You should soak beans in room temperature water to help them absorb the water and start the breaking down process. Soaking beans in hot water will cook them faster but they won’t have as much flavor.
Should I rinse beans after soaking?
You should always rinse your beans after soaking them to get rid of any unwanted residue. This will also help remove any excess gas that might be released from the beans.