Unlike azuki beans whose pigments do not dissolve in water, kuromame (Japanese black soybeans) and kidney beans lose their pigments when soaked in water. This is because kuromame and kidney beans let water permeate their outer skins, allowing their anthocyanin and tannin pigments to seep out.

Azuki bean tannin is a type of condensed tannin which does not dissolve in water. Kidney bean tannin, on the other hand, is soluble. When cooking kidney beans or kuromame, do not discard the water in which the beans were soaked; that is where the nutrients have gone. Conventional Japanese cooking practice says to allow the liquid in the pot to boil over once in order to clear the froth before allowing the beans to continue cooking. If, however, you want to preserve as much of the nutrients as possible, do not allow the liquid to boil over.

One very simple way to prepare kuromame is as “kuromame tea.” Kuromame have long been known for their therapeutic properties as both a  healthy food and medicine. Kuromame is a wonderful tea that makes it simple to obtain the medical benefits of kuromame.


Dry roast a batch of kuromame in a frying pan for about ten to fifteen minutes or until they crunch with a light bite. Be careful not to burn the beans. Put out one tablespoon of kuromame into a cup and cover with hot water. Allow to steep for about five minutes. When the color of the beans has permeated the water, the tea is ready.

(Translated by Roy Mashima)

(The information provided should not be construed as medical advice or instruction. Consult your physician before attempting any new program. Readers who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume the risk of developing serious medical conditions.)


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