Recently I began to wonder...if pressure cooking is so efficient at cooking beans, is soaking is really necessary at all? Searching the interwebs, I see there are many debates on this topic, and the science does not seem settled (whether it's healthier to soak or not, nutritionally) either.
On the pro-soak-side, soaking is thought to remove water soluble starch sugars that can block digestion. Some argue that these compounds called phytates are also what cause flatulence. So it would seem this is a good thing.
"The soaking of black beans in water has always found fairly widespread support in food science research as a way of improving overall black bean benefits."That is according to the site, World Healthiest Foods, which seems to provide a fairly reliable source of nutrition information. So removing phytates, which block digestion of other nutrients is good. But I found other evidence on the other side discussing how we are leaching more nutrients by soaking. Food science writer Harold S. McGee wrote in a book called On Food and Cooking:
"...during soaking many nutrients leach out of the beans. Apparently heat breaks down cell membranes within the beans, and increases the solubility of water-soluble nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. As a result, soaking tends to leach somewhat more of the nutrients out of the beans than do slow soaking methods."
|pre-soaked pressure cooked black beans|
|not soaked pressure cooked black beans|
Do you soak your beans?