Toxic Red Kidney Beans?

I have cooked only pinto beans up to this point.

So I bought dried kidney beans from Whole Foods. I soaked my red kidney beans for 9 hours. Using a pot on the stove I brought the beans and water to a boil. I then lowered the temperature and let it simmer for 1-1/2 hrs.

Then I did some more reading after I had eaten a handful of beans. I could squeeze it between my fingers, and I could squeeze it between my tongue and the roof of my mouth. (Not effortless but not hard to do either).

I was worried the beans were not done, so I put them back on and checked them every 20 minutes. Some beans started to split, while some seem to still have a little harder skin.

It's now coming on 3 hours and they must be done. They are easy to squeeze in my mouth and the skin is starting to become really soft.

My questions are, how soft does the outside of the bean need to be regardless of the inside mushing out? Are they supposed to be soft on the outside like pinto beans or can the outside skin be al dente and still be ok to eat.

I only ask because I know the more you over cook anything the more nutrients are destroyed in the process, and I only want to cook something as long as needed; however I don't want to eat toxic kidney beans either.

Since they are dark red is there are lighter color to look for when the beans are done?

Thank you very much for your help
Jerrod
OK

*****

Sassy Sez: Hi Jerrod! These are good questions you ask. I think the whole "kidney bean potential poisoning" can freak us out, and while we should be aware of how raw vs. how cooked our beans are, it's not something we have to be overly zealous about either.

Yes, if your kidney beans are under cooked they can be toxic -- I don't believe we're talking "death" here, as much as just puking your guts out. ;)

Kidney beansIf you soak your beans to soften them and allow for easier digestion and faster cooking, and you cook your beans for the correct amount of time, all should be okay.

(Note: Not too long ago, it was found that if you *slow cook* your red kidney beans, they should be boiled for 10-15 minutes first -— learn more about this in the convo below.)

Yes, properly cooked kidney beans have a "bite" (al dente) -- so they are softer on the inside with a little bite on the outside. (To answer your question, kidney beans retain their pretty dark color.)

If you can easily smoosh ANY cooked bean between your tongue and the roof of your mouth, your beans are done to perfection.

If you place a cooked bean between your tongue and the roof of your mouth and it's completely 100% smoosh city, they are likely overcooked. But you can usually tell an overcooked bean by the looks of it -- split and shapeless. But some people actually prefer their beans like that, so whatever floats your boat.

In either case, the nutrients will still be there in the bean.

Be sure to keep the bean-cooking water to store your cooked beans in while in the fridge, and use some of that bean-cooking water when you heat your beans up, whether you're eating straight-up beans or reheating some sort of bean/whole grain/veggie combo. In other words, the nutrition is in the broth as well as the beans.

By the way, if you cook pre-soaked beans for WAY longer than they need to be cooked, whether using a pressure cooker to cook beans, or cooking beans using a regular stovetop method, and your beans are STILL undercooked? That likely means your beans are OLD and you should get some fresh dried beans and start over. Also, dried and uncooked beans/legumes should never be refrigerated or frozen or they won't cook properly.

Hope this helps! :)
xo

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Comments for Toxic Red Kidney Beans?

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Jul 30, 2012
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sick from raw kidney beans
by: Anonymous

A month ago I ate about 15 raw kidney beans (soaked for 12 hours) and became VERY ill almost instantly.

Within 10 minutes of eating I was vomiting and my body felt as though I had the flu (my body ached, chills and a headache). I ate these beans as part of a bean dip for lunch and I was sick from 2pm until 8am the next day. I also developed severe diarrhea an hour or two after eating the beans.

I read dozens of articles where individuals posted how raw kidney beans put them in the hospital (many were hospitalized for dehydration).

I soak and eat other beans raw but based on my personal experience, I'd recommend cooking your kidney beans!

Aug 03, 2012
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Wow
by: Sassy

Yikes! That is a crazy and sad story! So sorry you had to go through that, my sweet.

Lesson learned! Oy! xo!

Nov 09, 2014
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Toxic Phytohaemagglutinin (Kidney Bean Lectin)
by: PeggySue2u2

Kidney beans are more toxic than most other bean varieties if not pre-soaked and subsequently heated to the boiling point for at least 10 minutes. The U.S Food and Drug Administration recommends boiling for 30 minutes to ensure they reach a sufficient temperature long enough to completely destroy the toxin. However, cooking at the lower temperature of 80 °C (176 °F), such as in a slow cooker, can increase this danger and raise the toxin level up to fivefold.

I had experienced this one time and was safe all other times but it was enough to convince me that sometimes is too many times to go through that. I had eaten beans at a Mexican restaurant and several of us went through the same horrible ordeal including my granddaughter who was sick too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kidney_bean

http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/CausesOfIllnessBadBugBook/ucm071092.htm

Feb 10, 2015
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agent help on inhaling burning beans
by: tshifiwa

hi....i cook beans last tight up to a point where everything was overcooked, seriously burnt becoming ashes, very dark. i hve inhale the smoke the whole night. fortunately the windows was opened. is it not dangerous to inhale smoke of burning beans like what i hve gone throug the whole night?

Feb 11, 2015
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My thoughts...
by: Sassy

Hi Peggy Sue!

Thanks for sharing. We really can't be too careful when it comes to eating raw and undercooked kidney beans.

I find it crazy that that FDA article recommends soaking kidney beans for "at least 5 hours." Where did they come up with this figure? I feel it's far too little time. I recommend pre-soaking for at least 8 hours or overnight, but much better to do 24 hours. This not only helps to make beans more easily digested, but hastens the cook time as well.

Feb 11, 2015
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Unsure...
by: Sassy

Hi Tshifiwa! Boy, I'm not sure. Best to check with your doctor. Hope you feel better soon! xo

May 12, 2015
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Red Beans
by: Vic

Wen I am almost done cooking red beans The water from red beans is helty to drink or not ?

May 12, 2015
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Drinking cooking water
by: Sassy

Hi Vic! You can store your cooked beans in the water they were cooked in. So yes, it's perfectly fine to drink the cooking water, or to use some of the cooking water when reheating the beans. xo!

Jul 07, 2015
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Kidney Beans
by: Anonymous

My question is only labeling. Are KYDNEY BEANS all tiles of the same shaped barns as red KYDNEY beans? A physician recommended me not to eat them too regularly. Are black, white, and other colored beans called the same? Is it because of their shape?

Aug 20, 2015
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It's all about the soaking
by: Anonymous

The best way to assure your beans are safe is all in the soaking.. Red kidney beans should be soaked for 18 hours! Then boiled. Haemagglutinin is destroyed by traditional cooking methods (soaking, then boiling). Kidney beans in a can have already been through this process, and are safe to eat, but if you prefer to cook your own foods, as I do, just remember to soak them for a long time.

Nov 01, 2015
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Correct Method for Cooking Kidney Beans
by: Anonymous

I notice that none of the answers are very clear about how to prevent toxicity.

The one single procedure that destroys the toxins in red kidney beans is to boil them vigorously for at least 10 minutes. Everything else mentioned in these comments is irrelevant - it may help you cook the beans better or make them tastier, but it has nothing to do with avoiding toxicity.

People soak beans to make them cook better and faster. It will NOT destroy the toxins. You may either soak the beans overnight, or do a quick-soak (bring beans to a boil with plenty of water, boil for 5 minutes then turn off the heat and let the beans sit in the hot water for an hour).

So in order to cook red kidney beans, you do the following:

1. Soak overnight or do the quick soak. This is for softening the beans so they cook faster and more evenly, it will NOT destroy the toxins.

2. Remove the soak water, wash beans several times in clear cold water.

3. Add 3-4 cups of water per cup of presoaked beans, bring to a boil. Now take the lid off the pot and keep the heat high enough to maintain a vigorous boil for at least 10 minutes. This is the step that destroys the toxins.

4. Lower the heat to simmer, add whatever flavorings you want to add (I generally avoid adding the salt and acid until the end, but you can add onions, garlic, etc.). Simmer covered until beans are done. This can take 1-2 hours, depending on how old the beans are.

5. When the beans are almost done, add the salt and any acids (such as tomatoes or vinegar). Finish cooking according to whatever recipe you are following.

Again, the key to destroying the toxins that the 10 minute vigorous boil. You do that early in the cooking process to get it over with. It won't overcook anything because that early in the process the beans are very far from cooked even after 10 minutes of boiling. So you can adjust the simmer time accordingly to get perfectly cooked beans at the end.

Nov 02, 2015
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Thanks!!
by: Sassy

Thank you for breaking the process down for us! We appreciate you taking the time, and I know others who come along will find it super helpful. :)

Jan 27, 2016
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How safe are can Kidney beans
by: Anonymous

What about can red kidney beans are they safe to eat

Jan 27, 2016
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Yes Kidney Beans Are Safe To Eat
by: Sassy

Cooked kidney beans are safe to eat, whether you buy them in the can or cook them yourself. It's only RAW kidney beans, or those that aren't cooked thoroughly, that can cause this challenge. xo!

Sep 18, 2016
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Kidney beans are toxic 😮
by: Anonymous

Wow, did not know raw kidney beans are toxic, are there a y other beans, that are toxic as well? I just put some to soak, but I think, I will go and drain them, and throw them in the garbage!

Sep 19, 2016
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Don't throw them away...
by: Sassy

Hi there -- RAW kidney beans are toxic. Cooked are not. They're an excellent source of protein and should be eaten every day.

All beans should be pre-soaked and cooked before eating. There is no reason to toss out your beans. Just soak 'em, cook 'em and eat 'em! :)

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