Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

healthy essentials: fermented black beans

Recipe by
Andy Anderson !
Wichita, KS

Fermented black beans make an excellent snack or side dish, and they are easy/peasy to make. Just soak, cook, and ferment. Fermented veggies are excellent for good gut health (more on this later), plus they taste awesome. In addition, I use them as a base to make black bean sauce, which is a staple in Asian cooking. So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.

yield serving(s)
prep time 1 Hr
method Stove Top

Ingredients For healthy essentials: fermented black beans

  • 16 oz
    dry black beans, 1 bag
  • salt, as needed
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • cilantro
  • cumin
  • various fresh herbs
  • whatever you fancy

How To Make healthy essentials: fermented black beans

  • 1
    Fermentation If you do not have experience with fermentation, it can sound a bit intimidating; however, in reality it is not all that difficult. It just takes time. What is fermentation? Lacto-fermentation is a method of food preservation that enhances the nutrient content of the food. It creates good bacteria that makes the minerals in cultured foods more readily available to the body. In addition, good bacteria produce vitamins and enzymes that are beneficial for digestion. It was used as a way of preserving foods long before the days of refrigeration.
  • 2
    The Fermentation Ingredients There are several ways to ferment veggies (in our case beans). The process we are using takes two only ingredients: salt and water. This method takes more time than others; however, they are ingredients you probably have access. So, we need to examine those two ingredients… Salt Store-bought salt contains all kinds of things that are not actually salt. For example, iodine. Depending on the brand, and the amount of iodine, it can completely kill the fermenting process. I use sea salt for two reasons: 1. It is iodine free. 2. It contains trace minerals (from the sea water) that enhance the flavor of what you are fermenting. Choose what you will, but no iodine. Water Citified water can contain all kinds of things; two of them being chlorine and/or chloramine. Either of these chemicals will stop the fermentation process in its tracks. So, what do you do? Well, depending on which of the chemicals you are dealing with, you have several choices: Off-Gassing If your water contains only chlorine and not chloramine, you can let it sit for 24 hours and the chlorine will dissipate into the environment. Boiling If your water contains only chlorine and not chloramine, you can drive the chlorine off by boiling the water for about 15 minutes. Filtration A charcoal filter is designed to strip your tap water of chlorine and chloramine; carbon filters are necessary for effective removal. Most, if not all, reverse osmosis water systems have a charcoal filter. Chemicals There are chemical methods for removing chloramine, but I am not, and never will go in that direction… That is using one dicey chemical to remove another dicey chemical.
  • 3
    Alternate Water Sources I will give you two: one costs; the other is free. 1. Costs… Bottled spring water. 2. Free… Rainwater. When I had my second pergola built, I topped it with a steel roof. When the rains come, the water is directed through a drainage spout into a 20-gallon storage tank. A good rain will fill it in no time. Then, I boil it, run it through a strainer with cheesecloth, and save it in 5-gallon containers. How do I know what is in my water? You can call the city and ask or go to their web site.
  • 4
    The Container The best containers to use are mason jars. However, we are fermenting the beans (or whatever veggie), at room temperature. So, we do not want anything going on here but the development of our good bacteria. I suggest that before you begin the process that you sterilize the jar and lids using boiling water.
  • 5
    Fermentation temperatures above 75f (24c) can make the veggies soft and even slimy. The best temperatures for fermentation are in the 60 – 70f (15 – 20c) range. This way your veggies will remain crisp.
  • 6
    Last Word Okay, by now you are probably saying this is a bit much. But in reality, the process is fairly straightforward. So, we need to stop talking about what we need, and get into the fermentation process.
  • 7
    Gather your ingredients (mise en place).
  • 8
    Add the beans to a bowl of warm water with a pinch of sea salt.
  • 9
    Keep in a corner of your kitchen and allow to soak for 24 to 48 hours.
  • 10
    Check the water level, and keep the beans covered by about 1-inch (2.5cm).
  • 11
    Drain the beans, place them in a saucepan or pot, and cover with plenty of fresh water.
  • 12
    Place the pot on the stovetop and turn the heat to medium high.
  • 13
    Allow the pot to come up to a boil and stir for 10 minutes.
  • 14
    Lower down to a simmer, then stir occasionally for an additional hour.
  • 15
    Drain, and let the beans cool down for about 30 minutes.
  • 16
    The Fermentation Liquid. The ratio of salt-to-water is about 1 tablespoon per pint (0.5 liters) of water. Mix the salt and water together and add some additional spices of your own choosing. Add the beans to a sterilized container, and fill with the saltwater; leaving about an inch (2.5cm) of space at the top.
  • 17
    It is important to keep the beans below the surface of the water. You can use fermenting weights, or here is a little trick. Take a small snack bag, fill with a bit of water, then squeeze the rest of the air out of the bag and seal. Now, stuff that into the mouth of the jar, and it will keep the beans below the water’s surface. Easy/Peasy.
  • 18
    Seal and place them in a coolish corner of your kitchen.
  • 19
    Open them once or twice a day to release any gasses.
  • 20
    On the second day open and taste the brine. It should taste salty, like sea water. If on the third day the brine tastes too salty, pour off a bit, and replace it with fresh water. For flavor and the success of your fermenting, get the salt in the acceptable range by day 4 or 5. Depending on the temperature of where you are keeping them, let the beans ferment for 4 – 5 days, until you see small bubbles form and they begin to have that "fermented" smell and taste. Keep out of direct sunlight while fermenting.
  • 21
    Store in the fridge. They will last six months before they need to be tossed.
  • 22
  • So yummy
    Use in any recipe that calls for beans, or just eat the by themselves. Enjoy.
  • Stud Muffin
    Keep the faith, and keep cooking.