Beans, beans, the musical fruit – but what if you don’t want to toot?

This is a guest post by Michele and entry for our non-fiction writing contest.

We all know that beans and rice are great for long-term storage. They are nutritious, inexpensive and have a long shelf life. Beans especially are incredibly good for you, and contain a great deal of fiber, something missing in many modern diets. Sunday night, I told DH that I was going to make beans and cornbread for dinner. Looking at me skeptically he said “You know, you have to live here too”.  Beans, broccoli, onion – all the usual suspects cause the usual dietary response.

There are several things you can do to reduce ‘the usual dietary response’ though, and I am going to touch on a few – and one REALLY GREAT one.

First of all, there is Beeno. Expensive and not gluten free. Bean-zyme, much less expensive, gluten free, and Alpha-galactosidase, the active ingredient in both Beeno and Bean-zyme, with their own names through most of the on-line vitamin companies, Vitacost, The Vitamin Shoppe, etc. I ordered several bottles from VItacost on Sunday, BOGO half price, I ordered 4 bottles for preps. However, since I planned to actually COOK the beans for dinner on Sunday, those bottles on order would not help a whole lot.

Actually, my favorite method is to sprout the beans before cooking, which I had already started. I bought a 29oz package of Bob’s RedMill 13 bean soup a few days before, poured about half (about 1-1/2 cups) into a gallon jar (there are only two of us), added warm water and allowed it to soak overnight. Then next morning, I drained the water, rinsed and drained out the rinse water, then put cheesecloth over the jar opening, and laid it on its side. For the next day, I rinsed the beans twice during the day. By Sunday morning, all the beans and lentils were beginning to sprout – except for the split peas of course.

This was also an experiment to see if the beans were good enough to plant in a month or so – as Bob’s RedMill does not use ANY GMO products, and I figured this was an easy way to get lots of different kinds of beans growing in my garden inexpensively. Success!
Anyway, now all the beans are sprouting – they all have little whitish tails coming out of them. So Sunday afternoon, I placed them into a big pot, added a bunch of water, brought it to a boil, added a little olive oil (to keep the foaming down), a few pieces of bacon and two chopped onions. DH is still thinking it is a recipe for an evening’s disaster.

Anyway, as cooking progressed, I added carrots, some polish sausage that was too small amount to fit in a pint jar last time I canned them, and a little bit of tomato sauce and a bunch of spices. Then at the last-minute, I added in left over mashed potatoes and spinach (which had also been cooked with bacon – my family is from Texas). Yes, I’m frugal – Scottish ancestry and proud of it!

It was delicious. DH loved it, as did I. And you know what – no gas!

The gas from beans is caused by the complex carbohydrates in them. Soaking helps, but often not enough. When you sprout the beans, not only do you increase their nutritional value (vitamins and protein), and some of those vitamins by over 200%, you also kill the antinutritional factors in legumes, and probably best of all, it breaks down the complex carbohydrates that cause the gas in your intestines, as you are trying to digest them. Oh, and that 1-1/2 cups of beans, turned into 2 nights dinner, and I still probably have 6 cups left.

So, if you want the beans, without the toot, consider sprouting them before cooking them.

Prizes for this round in our non fiction writing contest include…

  1. First place winner will receive – A $150 gift certificate for Hornady Ammo  courtesy of LuckyGunner, a Wonder Junior Deluxe grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Neads, a one year subscription to the Personal VPN service courtesy of unspyable and 1 Case of Survival Cave Food Chicken with 12 14.5 oz. Cans courtesy of LPC Survival.
  2. Second place winner will receive – $100 off of your next order of Fish Antibiotics courtesy of, a Survival Puck  courtesy of and a Coffee Mug courtesy of Horton Design.
  3. Third place winner will receive – a copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of and a copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy

Be sure to read the rules before entering… This contest will end on March 17 2014


  1. I think having some gas is a good thing.

    Consider this: Having trouble lighting a fire? Having a match, some gas and some excellent aim, you can blue angle that wood into a quick roaring fire in no time!

    • I know right? Gas is half the fun of eating beans!

    • judy, another one says:

      LOL! Ah, no, you don’t want to start a fire this way! My Hubby was a Boy Scout. Let’s just say adolescent males will be adolescent males which is the stage right before, ‘Here, hold my beer and watch this.’ The kid in question didn’t walk right for several week before he healed up.

      • L.A. Mike says:

        Pfft! I tried it and managed to only singe a few hairs. My Wife still laughs to tears when she remembers it, as we were in the bathroom with the light off for full effect. Awesome.

    • mike, that blue flame better in a perfect spot or, big troublle.

  2. poorman says:

    Add a little baking soda to them while soaking overnight. Make sure to rinse before cooking and this will help a lot on the gas problem.

  3. We have this problem with beans (and lentils). I don’t want to use baking soda because of the sodium, so I’ve been looking for a solution. I had read of Epazote, supposedly used in Mexico for this purpose in beans, but then I read that some people are highly allergic. That nixed it for me, as we live so far from medical care I don’t want to try it. But I also read in the Herbal Drugstore that fennel can be used as a treatment for flatulance. I think I’m going to try the sprouting method, and consider adding some fennel occasionally as a spice.

    • tommy2rs says:

      Epazote also tastes like burned rubber to some people, like cilantro tastes like soap to some. Me, I like them both, The Boss can’t stand either.

    • MissiPoo2 says:

      Fennel can cause headaches. As I learned the hard way, if you get migraines.

  4. JP in MT says:

    I have found a very low tech way to help with my gas “issues” with beans. I eat soda crackers with them, saltines if you will. Pilot bread seems to work too.

  5. I peel a potato add it to the pot of beans let cook until the beans are done, then remove and discard the potato before eating the beans. Works like a charm to prevent gas…

    • Thank you! I had forgotten that bit of advice. We need to try this, too.

    • seeuncourt says:

      And the pigs/chickens love the potato

    • patientmomma says:

      Wow, potato in with beans; a new one for me. One time I let my beans soak too long and they sprouted so I just rinsed them again and added the rest of the ingredients. Turned out just like Michele said…no gas.

      What works on salami? It gives my family gas.

      • Digestive enzymes that contain at least pineapple and papaya (Bromelain and Papain). Also good would be Protease. I take Chewable Super Papaya Enzyme Plus, and it works for digestive upsets and heartburn as well as helping me digest my food properly. As you get older, you don’t make as much digestive enzymes, so it is good to have around.

  6. Hunker-Down says:

    Is bacon still made using formaldehyde?

    • Gosh, I hope not, I’m picking up 36 pounds of it next Monday from Zaycon.

      • Does anyone know how bacon from Zaycon is delivered? One large box, smaller packages, chunks, sliced? I’ve put off ordering from Zaycon because we have so little freezer space and don’t yet have a pressure canner. Might be able to repackage into smaller packages to freeze. Thank you all.

    • Rider of Rohan says:

      Hogs eat formaldehyde? The things I learn on this blog. LOL. Just kidding, H-D.

    • Bam Bam says:

      My nursing students told me last night that bread from fast food places contains a chemical that’s used to make plastic.

  7. Rider of Rohan says:

    Michele, you’re about the smartest person I know. Well, virtually speaking, that is. Who would have ever thought about sprouting them before cooking?

  8. axelsteve says:

    I do not have much trouble with gas except for the black beans. I soak my beans overnight at least. I change the water a couple of times when soaking and that seems to do the trick.

    • That’s funny, because black beans are the only ones I can eat unsprouted and without gas.

      But sprouting them increases the nutritional value, and adds bulk to the amount – so better all the way around in my opinion.

      • tommy2rs says:

        But will the sprouted beans still make decent refritos (refried beans) for bean and cheese tacos?

        • I can’s see why not. I just sprout them until they all have little white tails, and they cooked up the same as beans that were not sprouted. Sprouted, cooked well and mashed should be perfect.

          • tommy2rs says:

            Cool, thanks. I’ll have to try it, may be it will get The Boss off my back about my favorite breakfast taco…

      • axelsteve says:

        Michele. Maybe if I ate them more often my system would adapt to them.

        • So I’ve heard. I’m sure after TSHTF, I’ll be eating a lot more, but will still be sprouting them as often as I can – both for the lack of discomfort and the additional nutrition sprouting them brings.

  9. Tom Arnold says:

    The simplest solution we’ve found is to just eat beans regularly. Over time the body adapts to process them with no or reduced gas. I can’t remember right now which part of the bean it is but I think it’s the high amount and type of carbohydrates.

    • Agreed Tom, but if you’re just getting started eating beans regularly, this is good information to have. I have also read (elsewhere) that the nutritional value of sprouted beans is better.

      Thanks for the info!

      • My father ate beans every day. He never got over the horrendous gas problem. Well, it was horrendous for us and we fled the room.

        • Donna in MN says:

          MY father did too in the navy and the only tell tale he farted a lot must have been at night. MY mom used to tell me he forced my mom’s head under the covers to suffer when he farted in bed.

  10. Great tip. l’ve used Beano in the past, but am always looking to save money.

  11. judy, another one says:

    I quick-soak my beans. (You wash your beans, cover with water, bring to a boil and boil for one minute or so. Turn off the heat, let set covered for a couple of hours. Drain, rinse, return to pot, cover with water/broth and cook until done.) While there is still some gas it is nothing like the intestinal distress of cooking them without soaking.

    Thanks Michele, I never full understood the process of sprouting the beans before cooking. I will have to play around with the process to see if Hubby and I like our beans better this way.

    Question: Somewhere I read a snippet that there were some beans that you didn’t want to sprout because it made them toxic. Any truth to it?

    • Yep, there are several beans that you do not want to eat raw – sprouted or otherwise, most especially kidney beans, although fava beans and many lentils are as well.

      However, sprouting them THEN cooking them deactivates the toxins. Just don’t sprout them and eat the sprouts raw.

  12. Great solution, Michele. I’ve been hesitant to feed more beans to the family because of this problem, and the intestinal discomfort attending the condition. This is so do-able (is this a word?) I have always soaked the beans but never thought about sprouting.

  13. I stay away from beans that DONT make you toot .

  14. Donna in MN says:

    I asked about preventing gas before here about 2 years ago and someone (Michelle?) told me to sprout them first. I love beans. My poor mom cooked navy beans when I was growing up with a ham hock. I hated beans then, so I went without dinner. It wasn’t until a friend cooked them up 20 years ago, added raw onions, spiced them up with mild green peppers, and poured on the pepper that I loved it. I learned from the gas not to eat them for the whole meal, and countered it with beef, maccaroni and cheese, or food with little fiber.

    Now I have a question about sauerkraut ? I had half a can of german style (sweet&sour) with other food, and it wasn’t just the gas. I was sick in pain on the toilet all day and the next day exploding. I love sauerkraut, but since I hadn’t had it much lately, this experience was a gut bomb. Do you know if there is a counter to this effect before it happens?

    • The Bean-zyme or Alpha-galactosidase will work. Right now, Vitacost has it for $7.99 for 120 tablets, and your shipping is free with a $25 order.

      Sauerkraut time is here! With cabbage so cheap, now is the time to make and can your own.

      From the USDA canning guide:
      Suitable containers, covers, and weights for fermenting food
      A 1-gallon container is needed for each 5 pounds of fresh vegetables. Therefore, a 5-gallon stone crock is of ideal size for fermenting about 25 pounds of fresh cabbage or cucumbers. Food-grade plastic and glass containers are excellent substitutes for stone crocks. Other 1- to 3-gallon non-food-grade plastic containers may be used if lined inside with a clean food-grade plastic bag. Caution: Be certain that foods contact only food-grade plastics. Do not use garbage bags or trash liners. Fermenting sauerkraut in quart and half-gallon Mason jars is an acceptable practice, but may result in more spoilage losses.


      25 lbs cabbage
      3/4 cup canning or pickling salt

      Quality: For the best sauerkraut, use firm heads of fresh cabbage. Shred cabbage and start kraut between 24 and 48 hours after harvest.
      Yield: About 9 quarts

      Procedure: Work with about 5 pounds of cabbage at a time. Discard outer leaves. Rinse heads under cold running water and drain. Cut heads in quarters and remove cores. Shred or slice to a thickness of a quarter. Put cabbage in a suitable fermentation container (see above), and add 3 tablespoons of salt. Mix thoroughly, using clean hands. Pack firmly until salt draws juices from cabbage. Repeat shredding, salting, and packing until all cabbage is in the container. Be sure it is deep enough so that its rim is at least 4 or 5 inches above the cabbage. If juice does not cover cabbage, add boiled and cooled brine (1-1/2 tablespoons of salt per quart of water). Add plate and weights; cover container with a clean bath towel. Store at 70° to 75°F while fermenting. At temperatures between 70° and 75°F, kraut will be fully fermented in about 3 to 4 weeks; at 60° to 65°F, fermentation may take 5 to 6 weeks. At temperatures lower than 60°F, kraut may not ferment. Above 75°F, kraut may become soft.
      If you weigh the cabbage down with a brine-filled bag, do not disturb the crock until normal fermentation is completed (when bubbling ceases). If you use jars as weight, you will have to check the kraut two to three times each week and remove scum if it forms. Fully fermented kraut may be kept tightly covered in the refrigerator for several months or it may be canned as follows:

      Hot pack—Bring kraut and liquid slowly to a boil in a large kettle, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and fill hot jars rather firmly with kraut and juices, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

      Raw pack—Fill hot jars firmly with kraut and cover with juices, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
      Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process in a water bath canner.
      Processing times:
      Quarts 0-1000 ft, 15 minutes, 1001-6000 ft, 20 minutes, above 6,000 ft 25 minutes.
      Pints 0-1000 ft, 10 min, 1001-6000, 15 min, above 6000, 20 minutes.

      Cold pack/raw
      Quarts 0-1000ft, 25 min, 1001-3000, 30 min, 3001-6000, 35 min and above 6000, 40 min.
      Pints 0-1000 20 min, 1001-3000, 25 min, 3001-6000, 30 min and above 6000, 35 min.

      You can download the USDA canning guides FOR FREE at

      • CountryVet says:

        Thanks! Was just looking at my cabbage and thinking “it’s time.” Kraut crocks are awaiting! Cross your fingers for me. First time endeavor on this one.

  15. Michele, thanks for sharing that information! I’m looking forward to trying it. I learn the best stuff on this website!

  16. Tactical G-Ma says:

    Michele, good article. Bean sprouts are awesome! I like them on sandwiches in place of lettuce.
    And beeno, baking soda, and potatoes all work. But the best way is to eat beans 3-4 days a week. Your body will adjust. There’s nothing better than beans, cornbread, onion, and chowchow or pepper jelly. Unless it’s beans and rice with sausage, cheese and onion!

    • Rider of Rohan says:

      Chow-chow and pepper jelly! Now you’re talking, Tac G-Ma. Especially on crowder, field or purple hull peas. On top of the corn bread split in half, of course. And some pot liquor added for extra flavor. If I hadn’t had all those chicken livers for lunch, I’d be hungry now.

      • I told DH I was going to make a big batch of chow chow this year. He was totally mystified as to what chow chow was – Northern city boys – I swear.

        Of course he also had never heard about being pinched if not wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day. Maybe he wasn’t raised in CT, but on a planet in a galaxy far, far away.

        • Rider of Rohan says:

          My mother is no longer able to make chow-chow due to her age and mobility issues, Michele. But thank God I have a MIL who is one of the best at it. And pepper jelly, too. Thank u, Ms. Betty Jo(my MIL).

        • NWGhostRider says:

          Yea, but at least I knew what a grinder was. 🙂

          • Ha ha sweetie, apparently no one else knows what a grinder is either – maybe BC Truck, since he was raised in CT as well, but he hasn’t responded.

            • when i left connecticut and tried to find a place to get a grinder,people told me about hardware stores,ww Graingers,no one new what a grinder was. I eventually figured out the the rest of the world called a grinder, a submarine sandwich,or here in Louisiana, a Po Boy.

            • Encourager says:

              We have grinders here in Michigan!!

        • bushman says:

          Sorry. Chow Chow?

          • Chow Chow is a relish that is made primarily with onions, cabbage, green tomatoes and bell peppers. It also has some sugar so is a little sweet and is EXCELLENT with beans.

      • SCPrepperPoppa says:

        Fried livers Rider? LOVE those!

        • Rider of Rohan says:

          Ain’t no other way to eat them, SCPrepperPoppa. Where’ve you been, haven’t seen you here lately. Is everything copacetic?

          • SCPrepperPoppa says:

            Copy that!! We are fine, busy with stuff and life. Writing my first article about our unusual ice storm experience. I read all, but havent done much posting lately. Seems you are well, which gladdens this old heart!

            We are ok though.
            Take care Rider!

      • Donna in MN says:

        Did you say chicken livers? I sure miss fried chicken livers, the stores don’t sell them up here like they did down south. I could eat them every day of the week!

        • Rider of Rohan says:

          Donna, u need a Chicken Express in Minnesota. They also have fried gizzards, or a combination of fried livers and gizzards, along with fried okra as a side. That’s a lot of fried food, but I only do it once every 2 weeks or so. Watching my figure….lol, not really, but do watch my cholesterol.

  17. You know my favorite way to cook beans is to just rinse them and put them straight in to the crockpot and cook for 8 hours or so. I like the texture better they don’t fall apart and I never have bad gas from them. Don’t know if it is the long cook time or what but never have problems.

  18. Texanadian says:

    Put a quantity of pineapple in with the beans. Adds a little flavour and prevents the toots.

  19. mom of three says:

    What a good science project, to do too. I love beans I will try this.

    • Hunker-Down says:

      How do you plan to measure the results?

      • Curley Bull says:

        Courious bout that one myself

      • tommy2rs says:

        Well one time in the oilfield there were a couple of bored mudloggers who decide to use a funnel and some tubing to run a sample of fart gas through the gas chromatograph. Of course the evil company man walked in during the collection process and soon the two mudloggers were no longer bored as they were on a sea voyage to nearest dock through 14 foot seas.

        Too bad the printout of the results were lost in a fire a couple of decades later.

  20. Good article. You used my most very favorite mix of beans for your dish. I also add the onions and the carrots. Will try some sprouting and see what the difference will be.

    • docj
      bought the resilient gardener.
      it is a treasure trove. thanks for your article.
      we are gluten-free and daughter is dairy and meat free by necessity.
      many thanks.

  21. Thanks for the new ways to decrease the toots! It does not seem to effect me, but my husband and son, whew!

    I was taught the baking soda by my mom who grew up on a farm and that was their diet in the winter. The baking soda is not helping the beans for my husband, course it could have been the cabbage I fixed too!
    I am going to try the sprouting for health reasons.

  22. midnight1st says:

    It is my understanding that cooking beans with some of the herb epazote will do away with the gas. I have read that people south of the border will not eat beans without epazote, and they eat a lot of beans. I plan on ordering some this spring for the kitchen window garden.

    You gave some great hints for the problem with things a person would have anyway. Thanks!

  23. Bctruck says:

    Gas never seems to bother me when I eat beans, but the dogs really smell bad.

    • Curley Bull says:

      There ya go blame it on the pouch. You’re almost as bad as Mike Shehan . . . wonder how that ole F*** is doing these days?

    • My grandpa used to blame it on barking frogs. Never did see a barking frog though.

  24. Hey Michele (or Bam Bam) I was wondering if you could recommend something for chelation , I already have a therapist but another could be adviseable if the situation with Russia should change. I have had another stroke in the carotid artery two days ago (10% artery left open) surgery was performed yesterday I am trying to type but its hard work but we must go on! Its taken 1\2 hour to type this.

    • For heavy metal chelation (detox), eat LOTS of cilantro and add chlorella. The two of these together is a miracle chelation for heavy metals – including mercury from your fillings (and your mother’s fillings before you were born), lead, cadmium, fluoride and aluminum.

      You can make a paste of cilantro and eat 1 tsp twice a day. Recipe below – I don’t care too much for the taste of cilantro, but this makes it actually tasty.

      Cilantro Chelation Detox Pesto

      two large bunches of fresh cilantro
      4 medium garlic cloves
      1 cup nuts (I used almonds, but you can use sunflower seeds, raw pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts (a good source of selenium), or any mixture of them (sunflower and pumpkin is popular)
      1/4 to 1/2 c olive oil, or flax oil

      put cilantro, garlic and nuts into a blender and blend, add enough oil to make it a nice paste. Take 1 tsp twice daily for at least 2 weeks.

      If you are really full of heavy metals, like DH was (he worked in shipyards and paper mills), would be good to have some cordyceps mushroom on hand too. It was hard on DH’s kidneys, and they were really cold. A few days on the cordyceps and they were much better, but I still have him on BOTH the cilantro pesto and the cordyceps.

  25. My MIL always cooked pork&beans with pineapple mixed in. She said it cut down on the ‘end’ result. Could the acid in the pineapple have made a difference?
    I know it wouldn’t work w/regular beans, I’m anxious to try sprouting them.

    • Yes it might. Pineapple contains bromelain which is one of the enzymes that break down proteins. Don’t know what it does for the complex carbs, but since it’s acidic…

  26. elinorhobbes says:

    I found that a capsule of activated charcoal eliminates the gas . Cheap too. I have it on hand at all times. Works like a charm.

  27. JP in MT says:

    I just picture Blazing Saddles with a family locked in a basement.

  28. There are some things a gentleman does not talk about in the presence of ladies.
    THANK YOU for this Michele. & thanks for publishing it MD.

  29. After soaking the beans overnight and rinsing, add a can or bottle of beer to the water while cooking. Magic!

  30. Jersey Drifter says:

    My BIL tells a story of when he was a little kid. His father had a large amount of gas build up one night. Well in the middle of the night when he expelled it, it awoke my BIL sister. She in turn woke everyone in the house up yelling, ” Someone just ran their car off the road and hit the garage. ” True Story.

  31. grandma Rosie says:

    I went into a laundry several years back and there was only one other woman in there. We were talking and suddenly she let go one that any man would have been proud of! Embarrassed me for her, but didn’t her! She got peeved. Said “Well, shoot! Here I have a big one and no one to hear it! I just LOVE it when I get in a room full of people and can let go a big one!” She laughed but I didn’t ! She said if it smelled real bad the better.

    • hiplains says:

      Jersey and Grandma….oh wow, after a day like today, I needed a good laugh! Thank you!!

  32. The Hindi use asafetida (heng) to give an onion flavor as onions are off the list for Bhramins. It has the added allure of reducing the component called “pfartase” which provide the symphonic legume
    results that embarrass so many of us. Others quite strange though they are actually enjoy it.

    Mexican cuisine which makes non-judicious use of the genus phasolus uses an herbal condiment call epazote which also helps reduce the inevitable results of “phartase” consumption

    Thought the “Beans, Bullets & Bandaids” crowd could use this information

  33. Rider of Rohan says:

    Does anyone here have any experience with SurvivalCaveFood? They are one of MD’s advertisers, but I wondered if anyone had eaten any of their products. Thanks.

  34. you folks got me laughing sooo hard i have tears in my eyes.

  35. rjarena says:

    I found out that my gas problem was caused from wheat gluten, I don’t eat the wheat products and no unpleasant after odors! I will try the sprouted bean thing, sounds like a good idea.

  36. My mom used to put a little piece of ginger in with them while they were cooking, and that seemed to stop the problem.

  37. Too funny , a fart chart exists , I saw it in a book at barns & noble . It was a ranked on a scale of 1-12 , 12 being the worst , and several recipes next to each number you wished to achieve . 12 being banned by international treaty 😉

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