Toxic Red Kidney Beans?
I have cooked only pinto beans up to this point. *****Sassy Sez:
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
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. ;)
If 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! :)
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