I buy a lot of dry beans, lentils and split peas at the supermarket because I'm on a plant based regimen. I almost never buy canned because of the sodium content and I think you get more for your money with the dry beans.
However, most beans should be soaked overnight at room temperature. Soaking overnight and then rinsing helps to remove phytates (phytic acid). A couple teaspoons of vinegar added to the soak-water will help this process.
I believe that lentils and split peas do not require soaking but I often soak them anyway. It's your choice.
You are wise to cut down on packaged foods. Good luck.
Thanks for the tip on adding the vinegar to the soak water! Just a tip, another, quicker, way to soak beans is to boil them for 2 minutes and let stand for 1 hour. I prefer the slow way.
And, I agree, get rid of all canned foods! I live alone so for me if that means no tomato paste, so be it. I live like this because of the lack of quality control (picture all the bits and remains of cored tomatoes gather up to make that paste) and loss of nutrients in canned foods, not to mention the packaging waste!
To be more specific, I believe the correct amount of vinegar is one tablespoon of per cup of soak-water. So if you have a big soak, you might need about 2 tablespoons. I buy white vinegar by the gallon because I'm on a plant based diet.
I also don't like canned foods; I seldom buy any (although pumpkin is one exception). As long as you brought up the subject of tomatoes, I'll tell you about a suspicion I have. I think they could be high in phytates (phytic acid). Well, I read that seeds are relatively high in phytates. And what do you see when you cut a big juicy tomatoe in half? I haven't bought any tomatoes lately but I think they have lots of seeds. Don't they?
Last edited by JohnR41; 02-23-2010 at 11:19 AM.
Reason: delete quote & added mention of pumpkin