Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Killer Kidney Beans

Homemade red beans and rice. Doesn't look poisonous, does it? I saw Claire Robinson of 5 Ingredient Fix make this in a crock pot a few weekends ago, and I thought "I can do that." I even decided to be brave and use dried beans for the first time ever in my life. I was double-checking the recipe online when I noticed the recipe review that happened to be at the top. The first sentences read, "It doesn't say not to use kidney beans. The Wikipedia says that the poison is present in all beans and concentrated in kidney beans. The Wikipedia says that slow cooking releases more poison."

Say what?! Beans are poisonous, especially kidney beans? How did I not know this? I considered it especially important since I did not know that red beans were different from red kidney beans, and of course it was kidney beans that I had purchased and already soaked. I also know that Wikipedia is notoriously incorrect about things, so I did my own research. Sure enough, there were many posts from what I would consider reputable sources saying the same thing, like this one. Apparently undercooked beans of any kind, especially kidney beans, can indeed cause intense nausea and diarrhea. This problem is a common issue in kidney beans cooked in a slow cooker because not all slow cookers get hot enough to neutralize the toxin. Here I was all proud of myself for stepping out of my cooking comfort zone, and I get smacked down by nature. Lovely. And you know what, maybe it's just me, but shouldn't there be some kind of warning on the package?! Sheesh.

I did as the link suggested and boiled the beans for 10 minutes (40 minutes is probably closer to the truth, since I was paranoid), and we all survived. It was quite yummy, in fact (and made way too much for just 2 people). But to me, having to boil the beans before adding them to the crock pot pretty much defeats the whole purpose of doing them in a slow cooker. I just wanted to soak the beans, dump everything in the pot, and turn it on. Even if I used the proper red beans next time, knowing the possible consequences, I would feel compelled boil them (or use canned). I knew it was too easy!

Currently feeling: dejected

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