Red Kidney Beans Split During Soak

Ugly, wrinkled and split beans

Ugly, wrinkled and split beans

I put them in a pot with water (with about 2 tsp of baking soda) to soak overnight and only after a couple hours I found many of them with wrinkled, skins peeling off and split in half. I am going to have to toss them out as they were to be used in a salad and I want them to look appealing!

The packaging said they would be good for several more months past this date. I opened another package that has a shorter expiration date and shortly after adding water (plus a couple tsp. of baking soda) I am noticing some of the beans are beginning to repeat the same thing.

Am I doing something wrong? I am about to throw in the towel and go out and buy them in a can!

Thank you!
Linda
California

*****

Sassy Sez: Oh Linda, my darling, look at your poor little split kidney beans. How frustrating. :(

My first thought would be that your beans are too old. But you seem to be using fairly fresh beans, especially if you have purchased them in a package with a use-by date.

So the other thought? It's the baking soda. But this, I have discovered, is a topic that is causing some confusion out there: Should you add baking soda to the water when soaking your beans?

Personally, I have never used this method. Some people swear it makes the beans softer and more digestible. Others say it can make your beans soft and mushy and mealy, AND can remove important nutrients from your beans.

So which is correct?

THAT is the million dollar question. My personal guess would be that it depends on the bean.

Someone might cook a batch of beans at home that are particularly old, so adding the baking soda to the soaking water works beautifully to soften them.

Others might cook a batch of beans that are very fresh, so adding the baking soda to the soaking water could ruin those (relatively) more tender skins.

My advice would be to try soaking your beans without the baking soda to see if that solves the problem.

If you are worried about the digestibility of your beans after they are cooked, add a 1-2" strip of kombu (seaweed) to the cooking water. This also adds some important nutrients to the beans and bean cooking water.

Let's open this up to discussion. What say you Vegan Coach peeps out there? Do you successfully soak your beans with baking soda? Have you experienced beans splitting when soaking with baking soda?

Inquiring minds want to know. ;)
xo

Comments for Red Kidney Beans Split During Soak

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beans splitting
by: Linda

As a horticulturist, reading that the beans splitting was a troublesopme problem made me chuckle. To me that is just evidence that these beans have done what all viable seeds (and beans) should do... absorb water to start germination. When the outer seed coat (testa) is very dry it does not swell as readily as the bean inside, so as the inside of the bean absorbs water, the testa splits off. The two sections inside are called cotyledons and these will also grow apart with the added water prior to the first little root growing.

I would suggest a shorter soak is all that's needed to keep the seed firm and full without splitting.
Cheers, Linda (Australia) www.ecobotanica.com.au


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Splitting beans
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your information regarding the splitting beans! I think that adding the baking soda may have contributed to the splitting as well. The photograph shows this taking place in less than two hours. After soaking over night, the beans plumped up with the water, but split completely after cooking.
I did go out and purchased canned beans for my salad in the end. Next time I will omit the soda and go for a shorter soaking period!

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Cool!
by: Sassy

Linda from Australia, thank you so much for your input. I love that you contributed your professional viewpoint to our bean discussion. Thanks again.

I find it interesting that these beans split like this after only two hours. Do you find that odd?

p.s. To Linda, the original poster with the follow-up comment, did you try your experiment without baking soda and a shorter soak? Curious how that all went down. xo!


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Mine did the same
by: Anonymous

I just soaked some kidney beans for several hours and then split also....could be old, but though they had a very long shelf life.....

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splits!
by: MyDarlin

After reading this page about 2 weeks ago, I decided to save money and cook my own. I bought red kidney beans in bulk at Whole Foods a week ago. I began soaking them today and they all split open after 3 hours of soaking. =(

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INA
by: Anonymous

so are they good to eat,can these beans cause any harms if they are with seeds out:)?...thanx

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they all split!
by: carina

ı am planning to cook red beans today but guess I need to find something else to cook for dinner. Early in the morning I soaked a small amount of beans and after two hours they were all open! As I read on your web site that 8 hours of soaking is needed I was planning to keep them longer in the fridge but the question is 'Is it safe to eat them?'

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Let's Get A Grip...
by: Sassy

Hi Everyone!

Okay, this page has gotten a little out of hand, so let's get a grip on things so we're all on the same page:

1. YES your beans are safe to eat if they have split upon soaking.

2. When beans split upon soaking, it's not a bad thing; meaning, they will not hurt you! The only challenge with beans splitting when soaking is when looks matter (such as for a bean salad) and you don't necessarily want split kidney beans.

3. The main challenge from the original poster was that the kidney beans split after just 2 hours of soaking. The question then became WHY did they split so quickly? This was the main point of the original post.

Personally, we have soaked kidney beans for 8 hours and they have NOT split. So what's the challenge?

Is it perhaps because they were soaked in baking soda. The jury is still out on that one. Personally, I don't use baking soda for soaking and don't see the need. But this comment will likely cause people to make a comment that their family has been soaking their beans in baking soda for generations and their beans have turned out perfect every time, etc. etc. etc.

So please, just do whatever makes you happy. :)

I think the poster from Australia gave a great answer saying: "When the outer seed coat (testa) is very dry it does not swell as readily as the bean inside, so as the inside of the bean absorbs water, the testa splits off."

So if your beans are splitting after just a couple hours of soak, it seems to me that it's because your dry beans are likely old. Check your source and buy fresher dry beans.

I do have to disagree with the poster from Australia on the point where they recommend to soak your splitting beans for a shorter amount of time. Your beans still need to soak (split or not) for the proper amount of time to help with digestibility and for great nutrient availability.

You can still use up the older ones you have, soak them for the correct amount of time (6-8 hours), but if the splitting bothers you don't use them in a dish where the visual outcome is important to you.

Hope this helps to clear things up. :)
xo
Sass




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Splitbeans
by: Allyson

Thanks so much for the last comment, totally cleared it up!

I just soaked kidney beans for the first time and they all split open. At least I can still use them, they are going to be mashed up with sasa for bean borritos.

They are probably too old. I will try a different store next time.

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Yum
by: Sassy

You're welcome, Allyson. Sounds like you're cooking up something yummy over there. Enjoy. :) xo

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Not us its them
by: Anonymous

i just soaked some red kidney beans without any baking soda and after about 2 hours they looked exactly like the ones in the photo all wrinkly and opened. I noticed the tap water was a bit warm that i put on the beans but didnt think it matterd. Mine were well within the expiry date.
I had bought the same type of beans from a different store the other day and soaked them over night and they were perfectly plump with no splits so i think this has to do with the way they are dried or processed after being picked.

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Leave the beans alone!
by: Anonymous

I began soaking red beans for chili only to find 30 min in that my beans had split and the casings were shriveled. I came to the internet looking for answers. After reading your blog I went to bed disappointed, I thought my beans were trash. However this morning, after soaking all night, my beans look great! So my lesson learned is not to watch my beans soak. Leave them alone!!

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More Info Please
by: Anonymous

What is the name of the store and brand name of the beans that "were perfectly plump with no splits" after soaking overnight?

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Nothing to do with baking soda
by: Aussie

I soaked beans last night, within a few hours, they had split with wrinkled skins, disappointed I left them thinking 'bin the lot tomorrow' got up this morning to find most had closed back up and skins were normal but upon rinsing they have seperated and now have twice the amount of beans! Flat discs no plumped beans!

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Baking soda for beans
by: Jersey Jon

Hi, I was under the impression that baking soda was added to beans to condition the water so the beans could absorb it. If your beans absorbed the water as they are supposed to then there is no need for baking soda.

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My beans split -- here's why...
by: Sassy

Okay, kids, for the first time EVER my kidney beans split upon soaking.

What made the difference?

Well, we are traveling right now and don't have access to my nice big wide-mouth jar I usually use for soaking.

Instead, I used a medium-size bowl to soak my
1 cup of kidney beans for my chili. But there wasn't enough room in the bowl to add 3 times the water I would normally add.

Meh, I thought, it should be okay.

I woke up the next day to find the beans in the top half of the bowl were completely dry, meaning not surrounded by any water, and imagine my surprise to see they were all split wide open!

At home, with my wide-mouth jar, when I wake up and see my soaked beans, they are all still submerged - and only a few of them are ever split.

So my question to those of you who are experiencing this is: Are you using enough water to soak your beans?

Again, it should be at least 3 times the amount of beans. This usually equates to about 2-3 inches of water over and above the bean line. If the next day your beans are not still submerged, then you are not using enough water.

Hope this helps!
xo
Sass

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Split kidney beans
by: Anonymous

Bought bulk kidney beans and immediately submerged in cold water to soa. I didn't use any additives (baking soda) and 50% are split open. There has to be a logical reason why this is happening and hopefully a solution to solve this problem. I only wish I could figure it put.

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I've Tried all of the above and still...
by: Anonymous

I've tried every variation of soaking & cooking - they were all within expiry date - lots of H2O & less - warm & cold H2O -less time & more time soaking -not one worked ...they all exploded & when they cook they go mushy because their innards are already swollen -They are eatable, but unattractive :(
P.S. my granny always added the Baking Soda while cooking only...she said it helped limit post digestive flatulence. (I found this to be true) Since my granny was born in 1900 in Siberia where beans were a staple... she'd have known...wish I asked her about the splitting :( but at that time I used canned beans only ...but the cans now have BPA - which will raise blood pressure...bummer :(

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My beans split, too!
by: Myers509

I recently bought my kidney beans at Whole Foods and they split within a couple hours of soaking. I'm going to try to use them still, but how annoying! Whole Foods is expensive enough as is...

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Splitting Beans
by: AuntEthatsme

After watching several videos on soaking/brining beans. I have decided that my lima beans split due to the fact that there was NOT enough water.

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Water softener?
by: Anonymous

Has anyone that has tried soaking beans and has a water softener on their house had the bean soak and split problem? We have moved into a new house and installed a water softener. This is the first time I have tried cooking beans in our new home and this is the very first time I have ever experienced the bean soak and split problem. Is it possible there is something that is added to the water that could be causing this to happen? I'm anxious to hear from the community on this issue.

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Red kidney beans
by: Lin Bergeron

Seems there is no one true answer. I just today have put on to soak a lb of light red beans in a loosely covered pot with only cold tap water and plenty of it. Nothing else except that I did a 20 min soak and then rinsed them for cleansing them of any possible soil in cold water. After reading all these comments and a few hrs later I went to check them and they are puffy and only a few appear to be splitting.My difference is that these beans have been stored for a long time and I wanted to test them as I recently read that beans and rice are 2 things that remain edible for years for survival needs?
Living in NOLA for many yrs and having that as a staple meal quite often though I recall that I never soaked my dry kidneys and just threw them in the pot and boiled them for hours while adding the cajun spices ham, and smoked sausage that made them iresistable when served over rice. Point is the few that do split open are the ones that make the liquid part creamy and delicious

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Abiding the Horticulturist
by: Emily Rose

Hi All!

So my beans were in the water (filtered, no baking soda) for about two to three hours when I noticed they were splitting. I googled it and found this thread. Here's what I decided to do—which absolutely WORKED:

I thought about what the horticulturist said about the outside of the beans being so dry that when soaked, the absorbed water makes them split open. So after those first few hours, when a few of those suckers were splitting open, I did a little test. I left half of them in the water soaking, and I took half out. The hypothesis was that the batch I continued to soak would continue to split, and although appearing healed once plump, would ultimately end up as little bean-halves when cooked later. And I figured the other batch, which I removed from the water and laid out flat on a plate and stuck in the fridge over night, would have the opportunity to hydrate the outer skins enough so that when put back in the water for the rest of their 10+ hour soak, they would no longer split.

Lo and behold, each batch did exactly as I'd guessed it would.

So if you're having this issue, after soaking for the first few hours, try removing your beans from the water for at least three hours or so then putting them back in. That should solve the problem. :)

Thanks for this thread. It's been enlightening!

- Emily Rose
DeepSpiritualCoaching.com

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Re: split beans remedy
by: Linda

@Emily Rose~ Thank you for sharing your experiment with us! I am going to try what you did with taking the beans out of the water soak after a few hours and letting sit in the fridge a while before finishing the hydration. If you get this message, would you please tell us how long you soaked the beans for the second soak? Thanks!

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Soaking Time
by: Emily Rose

Hi Linda,

So this is what I did, but I'm sure you can give or take an hour or two on any part of this process. :)

First soak: 2 hours

Strain water and place on plate in fridge: 2 – 12 hours

Second soak: 10+ hours (Treating this last soak as your typical "overnight" soak.)

Hope this helps!

Happy bean hydrating!

- Emily Rose

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Yay!
by: Sassy

Wow, interesting experiment, Emily Rose!! Thank you for sharing your experience with us! :) xo

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Color differential and splitting
by: Peter

I've found that all the websites go in circles about bean preparations. I also experience bean splitting and peeling phenomenon regularly with kidney beans. I also have a question. About color. Why do canned beans have that vibrant red, while my raw kidney beans are duller in color. How can I get that dark red kidney bean? Am I getting a bad product if getting the brick red colored one?

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Canning Dark Red Kidney Beans
by: Linda

I did a little search and found this very interesting paper a student had written on the canning process and saw there is so much to getting those darling little beans to hydrate and into those cans (where much of completion of preparation for the consumer is done!)
Be aware that this is a pdf file... I hope it will help everyone with the same curiosity as I have~ Just google this, and hopefully, you will come to the same article. Read the table of contents and you should locate the sections on tempering and splitting, etc.
Copy/paste the following into your search engine:

Effect of Tempering and Other Processing Treatments on the Antinutritional
Factors and a Canning Quality Attribute of Dark Red Kidney
Beans

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Wrinkled split beans
by: Anonymous

Sadly my red beans became wrinkled and opened after only two hours of soaking! These were purchased from Bin Inn a bulk foodstore here in New Zealand. Beans were being soaked in a large bowl with cold water and nothing else......I figure the problem is....beans were not fresh.

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Red kidney beans split during soak.
by: Anonymous

Well, after having the splitting/wrinkling problem myself, I came to this spot for answers. Someone posted "I don't watch the beans soak anymore" and they were right. In the morning mine looked like there had never been a splitting/wrinkling problem. They were perfect and ready for baking!

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Kidney Beans
by: Mandy

I don't know how old this thread is, but I'll add my two cents anyway.
I'm a bit surprised at the answers, instructing to throw split/wrinkled beans away because the beans are 'old'. Am not quite sure where this info is being acquired.

It's totally normal for some beans - especially red/kidney - to wrinkle and split while soaking and in no way indicates that the beans are 'old'.
The wrinkling, as does the splitting, means that the beans are, in fact, soaking up the water, and typically the beans will first wrinkle, then fatten out again close to the end of the soaking time (4-6 hrs usually enough of a soak for kidney bns)
And some beans will split; it's just the way it goes. Doesn't make them any less safe, edible or tasty.

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kidney beans
by: kumar

usually we will have to soak it for 6 to 8 hours in normal water, and then pressure cook it. cannot really comment about the baking soda, but maybe that process is not required, but i think the shelf life for these beans in good conditions is a bit more. boiled kidney beans without spices or extra cooking. with brown rice is high protein and healthy meal.

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Split Beans
by: Ridge Creek Farms

As a bean grower I can tell you that when beans (especially Kidneys) get under 16% moisture content the outer skin becomes very sensitive to cracking. We try to harvest our beans at 18-20% moisture to reduce cracking when handling.
If the bags of beans in the store are rough handled and dropped--especially if the beans are very dry it will cause more cracking. Also if the beans look shriveled and cracked in the bag don't buy them and keep looking for better ones.
Once you've found a good supplier--stock up! (and keep them in a sealed bag to prevent moisture loss)

Hope it helps.
from Manitoba, Canada

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Thanks for the bean growing insight!
by: Sassy

Yes, it helps!! Thanks for your professional input! :) xo

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cracked and split after soaking, still cooked em
by: cocopuffyhead

I cooked the split swollen beans and something came out in the bean paste... looked like worms. Started panicking. Googled and searched. Is this the bbean root all throughout my dinner? Lol! Freaky.

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My stance....
by: Nisha

I have been soaking kidney beans for years the way my mother taught me.. All I do is soak in plenty of hot water on the stove until just starts to boil. then turn off and cover. No baking soda or anything else. Then leave for around 6 hours or overnight, before pressure cooking in plenty of water, salt and a little bicarb of soda.
Never had any issues with splitting etc. hope that helps.

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My vote for the comment from the Bean Grower
by: Anonymous

I cook dried beans a lot but what happened to my bag of kidney beans was not typical. Most of the kidney beans from the bag split and the skin peeled off while I was washing the beans. So, the splitting and peeling occurred while there was no soaking involved. I reluctantly threw away the whole bag. Having read all the comments posted, I believe the one posted by the beans grower is the one that applies to my bag of beans. Thanks to everybody for taking the time to post their experience.

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Nothing wrong with the beans!
by: Anonymous

Keep soaking. After 3-4 hours the beans will look beautiful.
As they soak more water and expand the outer layer stretches
And becomes nice and smooth.
And you have to soak them for at least 6 hours anyway.

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Baking soda
by: JoJo

Just thought that I would mention that it has been stated that baking soda will destroy the vitamin content of vegetables. I know that many people have used it in the past as it preserves the colour of the veg. I have no idea if vitamins in the beans would be destroyed in the same way though. This is slightly off the original post and I have not had any beans split on me so cannot help with the query but it seems a good enough reason to soak/cook beans in just water.

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baking soda in beans
by: Anonymous

I agree with you on not soaking the beans with soda for a long period of time; but I have used soda to fast cook(soak) and it is suppose to release the gas in order to make digestion easier. If you add the soda when the water is hot it produces foam (releasing the gas from the bean) but be sure to rinse them before adding to salad/chili.

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What fun!
by: Anonymous

I am having quite an enjoyable time reading this board. Just to add some fun fact to this exciting topic, I must dgred with the "add water" comment. If you take dry soil and add water it swells nicely, but if you fail to add water adequately then your soil dries and cracks Shaun. Thus, add copious amounts of water to guarantee s juicy bean. I have soaked 30 year old beans before, and with no issues. Have fun my friendly jelly beans.

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