If the Halloween zombie horses didn't get you, please tune in for the following announcement.
Beware the Red Kidney Beans
Tis the season for warm soup, stew, and chili. Prepare these comfort foods with caution if they call for red kidney beans. Canned, processed kidney beans are relatively gentle, peace loving legumes. But dried red kidney beans are armed and dangerous. They must be frisked at the kitchen door and rendered harmless before you invite them to dinner.
I attended a Halloween party last weekend that included a popular Fall culinary event: The Chili Cookoff.
The buffet table was lined with 20 or more crock-pots containing a variety of chili concoctions. I sampled three of the chili dishes. A few hours later I became ill - violently ill - like I've never experienced before.
I suspect I fell victim to kidney bean poisoning.
Dried red kidney beans contain a toxin called Phytohaemagglutinin. This toxin is present in many types of beans, but the red kidney bean wins the prize for packing the highest concentration. It only takes a few unfit beans to make a person very sick.
One of the most sinister methods of cooking dried red kidney beans is to slow-cook them in a crock-pot (or slow-simmer on the stove). The temperature may not get high enough to kill the toxic agent. In fact, slow cooking may increase the potency of the toxin.
The raw beans must be boiled for at least 10 minutes.
If you ingest toxic kidney beans, your tummy will expel the ghastly substance as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
The process is absolutely miserable!
But good for a rapid 2 pound weight loss.
Suggested steps to prepare raw beans before using them in a recipe or crock-pot:
- Soak raw beans for at least 5 hours.
- Discard the soaking water.
- Place beans in clean water; bring to a boil and continue boiling for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Bad Bug Book: Phytohaemagglutinin (Kidney Bean Lectin) from U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Beans! Beans! The Poisonous Fruit! from davesgarden.com
Red Kidney Bean Poisoning from foodreference.com
P.S. Horse Owners: Beware the White Kidney Beans too.
Abstract from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15086107
Thirty-four mixed breed horses from two separate farms showed signs of abdominal discomfort, pyrexia and dehydration after being exposed to a new batch of 14% complete horse feed. A new batch of cattle feed from the same manufacturer resulted in dairy cows showing depression, a drop in milk production and diarrhoea. Examination of both diets revealed the presence of white kidney beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). Inclusion of raw beans of this genus in animal feeds is to be avoided.