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Soaking beans serves two functions. It cuts the cooking time by up to half and it makes the beans easier to digest. When you throw out the soaking liquid, you are getting rid of much of the indigestible sugars that cause gas. Also, the beans retain their nutrients.
1) Rinse the beans in a sieve and pick through them, throwing out any pebbles or discolored beans you may find. 2) Put them in a large pot and add enough water to cover them by at least an inch. 3) Cover and refrigerate overnight. Drain any remaining water, and add fresh water for cooking.
For a quicker version:
1) Rinse beans, put them in a large pot, and add water to cover them by an inch. 2) Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, lower, the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. 3) Turn off the heat and let the beans sit, covered, for 1 hour. Drain the soaking water, and add fresh water for cooking.