03 October 2011

Recap week: Make beans a central part of your food storage

It's a travel/catch-up week here at Self-Reliant Info, so in the meantime we're presenting our Top 5 most popular posts as voted by our readers. The first post this week is our fifth most popular article. It's fairly recent too, taken from our initial Prep30 series that we just finished up in September. Beans (especially canned and dehydrated ones) are a great foundation for your food storage:

Beans are almost a cliche in preparedness circles; almost everybody stocks them, since they store well in canned in canned form (2-3 years), and very well when dried in bags (10 years or more).

Beans are high in protein, and they form a complete protein when combined with rice (which also stores well). You can read more information on selecting the type of beans, as well as making a basic beans-and-rice dish, in a previous post. We've also posted a nice Mexicali Bean & Rice Salad recipe too.

One concern that many people have is excessive gas from eating beans. This is less a problem with canned beans because they are fully cooked and adequately softened. However, dried beans do require a bit more care in preparing in order to avoid problems.

First, adding a little baking soda to the water before soaking your dried beans can make them more digestible. In addition, proper cooking makes a big difference in how your body reacts to eating beans. Below is How to Avoid Food Poisoning from Undercooked Beans from wikiHow, which describes how to properly cook your dried beans.

So, give it a read and then stock up on your favorite beans as a part of your work on National Preparedness Month!

How to Avoid Food Poisoning from Undercooked Beans
from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Undercooked beans may cause temporary discomfort and even illness, according to scientist Dr Paul McNeil.[1] This is due to the cooking process needing to be long enough to break down the natural insecticide within the beans known as lectin or phytohaemagglutinin.[2] From minor discomfort to very severe pain, being poisoned by your beans isn't pleasant. Here is how to avoid the problem.

  1. Understand the potential dangers of eating undercooked beans and know the symptoms. Poisoning by undercooked beans usually results in abdominal pain and can also lead to diarrhea and in some uncommon cases, hospitalization.[2] However, recovery is usually rapid and spontaneous. If you have consumed undercooked beans, these may some of the symptoms:[2]
  2. Give yourself enough time to cook beans. Rushing the cooking process when it comes to beans is not going to benefit you any. It is better to cook the beans properly and refrigerate them for tomorrow night's meal than to rush them and eat them underdone for tonight's meal.
    • Have standby grains such as couscous and bulgur wheat for a quick soak should the beans not be ready and you still need a substantial side dish of plant origin protein.
  3. Know the cooking times for the types of beans you're cooking. These can vary according to the bean and you should know both the type of bean you're cooking and the length of time it requires to be both soaked (if relevant) and cooked for. Phytohaemagglutinin is found in its highest concentration in red kidney beans, so they're the ones to be the most careful about. Here are some cooking times to be aware of for each 1 cup of dried beans:[3]
    • Adzuki: No soaking time needed, boil for 45-50 minutes or pressure cook for 15-20 minutes.
    • Black (turtle) beans: Soak overnight, boil for 45-60 minutes, pressure cook for 15-20 minutes.
    • Black-eyed pea: Soak overnight, boil for 1 hour, pressure cook for 10 minutes.
    • Chickpeas or garbanzo beans: Soak overnight, boil for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours, pressure cook for 15-20 minutes.
    • Fava or broad beans: Soak overnight, cook for 45-60 minutes. Don't pressure cook. Also note that some people are unable to consume fava beans if they have a Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency as this causes the disease favism.
    • Kidney beans: Soak overnight, cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, pressure cook for 10 minutes. This is the bean to be very careful with as it has the highest levels of phytohaemagglutinin out of all beans.
    • Red lentils: No soaking needed, cook 20-30 minutes or pressure cook 5-7 minutes. Always wash well and sieve to remove pieces of debris.
    • Green or brown lentils: No soaking needed, cook 30-45 minutes or pressure cook for 6-8 minutes.
    • Lima beans: Soak overnight and cook for 60-90 minutes. Don't use a pressure cooker.
    • Mung beans: Soak overnight, cook 1 - 1 1/2 hours, pressure cook for 8-10 minutes.
    • Split pea: No soaking needed, cook for 35-40 minutes, don't pressure cook.
    • Pinto beans: Soak overnight, cook for 1 1/2 hours, pressure cook for 10 minutes.
    • Soybean: Soak overnight, cook for 3 hours, pressure cook for 15 minutes.
    • White (Great Northern, Marrow, Navy, Pea) beans: Soak overnight, cook for 45-60 minutes, pressure cook for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Prefer canned beans. If you just don't have the time or patience for cooking your own beans, let someone else do the cooking for you and purchase pre-cooked canned beans.
  5. Get a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers can speed up bean cooking time if you're in a hurry. Follow the cooker's accompanying instructions carefully.
  • Lectin belongs to a family of proteins found in vegetables that may be toxic and repairs the tears in the cells walls by disabling GI tract cells. Experts also showed that lectin blocks mucus expulsion from cells.
  • Celiac disease is a common problem for people sensitive to gluten, a mixture of proteins that include lectins. Those who suffer from celiac disease are unable to absorb nutrients after gluten ingestion.

  • Too much lectin that comes from undercooked food may result in nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. The body tends to eliminate it before it becomes a problem though, unless there are other complications. See a doctor promptly if symptoms persist beyond 1-3 hours. If allergies are involved, see the doctor immediately.
  • Long-term lectin consumption has been connected to celiac disease or colorectal cancer.
  • Pressure cooking beans can be dangerous. A foam is produced that can foul the relief valve and cause excessive pressure, and rupture of the vessel. Best to be safe and boil at atmospheric pressure.

Sources and Citations
  1. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/78478.php
  2. http://www.fda.gov/food/foodsafety/foodborneillness/foodborneillnessfoodbornepathogensnaturaltoxins/badbugbook/ucm071092.htm
  3. http://weblife.org/beanchart.html
Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Avoid Food Poisoning from Undercooked Beans. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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