pen rainbow

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday's Cupboard—Dried Beans & Slow Cookers

Nothing like a little phytohaemagglutinin poisoning to spice up the weekend!

The moral of the story is this:  Vigorously boil dry beans for 10 minutes to remove the toxin that can make you sick.  Then, let it sit for 5 hours.  Discard the water, rinse the beans, and add fresh water for your soup.

The backstory of this sad tale is that I used some new heirloom cranberry beans to make Senate Bean Soup last week.  I've made this recipe a million times in my crockpot using dried small white beans, according to the recipe.  I made it exactly the way that I always make it, except that I let the beans cook all day on low, rather than for four or five hours on high, like I usually do.

Cranberry beans are native to Colombia
I soaked them overnight, rinsed them, and cooked them on high for 3 hours until hot and bubbling.  The ham looked done and the onion was translucent.  I refrigerated the soup overnight and put it back on the high temp for a couple of hours to bring it up to a boil.  Normally, I would have kept it on high for a few hours until dinner time, but I was running early that day, so I lowered the heat to LOW and let it simmer for 8 more hours before we sat down to eat.

Cases of food poisoning from dry beans have been associated with slow cookers, which cannot break down the toxin on the low setting.  Beans cooked at 176°F are reported to be up to five times as toxic as raw beans.

We were laid out on Friday, semi-functional on Saturday, and mostly over it on Easter Sunday (with just a couple of waves of blech).  Beans are high in purines, which metabolize into uric acid.  Uric acid is what makes your muscles ache the next day after strenuous exercise.  I could barely move on Thursday night, and my neck was killing me.  Steve's neck hurt, too, but he got more of the digestive effects than I did.  The hot flashes, intermittent sweating, and hunger pangs were fun, too.  ::::sheesh::::