Thursday, October 13, 2016

Toxic Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are toxic!! I'm not kidding. If eaten raw or not fully cooked you could end up in the hospital. Crazy isn't it? Just four or five raw beans are toxic enough to send you into extreme nausea, followed by vomiting. I suppose since kidney beans are not usually eaten by themselves, one would think they had the usual food poisoning and that the beans were not the culprit.

Kidney bean's toxic agent is Phaseolus vulgaris. Did anyone else's mind just burst into song when they read that? "Secret agent man!" Can't you just see me with my electric guitar all cool, sixties looking jamming out? Me neither, but there has to be a show on television with that jingle. One from way back in the sixties or so because we have not had television in many, many years. 

Way off track there. My mind does that all the time. That is why our family always says, "Squirrel!" when we are changing the subject in mid conversation and then squirrel again when we are jumping back. So "Squirrel!", the vulgaris part of that toxin does sound extra scary. "Squirrel!", I suppose if one was devious and cruel, one could cook something wonderful up and put just a few poorly cooked kidney beans in it. Then served in individual bowls, (no sharezies). It has to be aimed at just one person or it wouldn't fit with the Secret Agent Man. (What show was that off of?) The onset of the symptoms is usually between 1 to 3 hours after consumption. Recovery is rapid. Usually, 3 to 4 hours after symptoms begin. That could put someone out of the picture just long enough to..... to.... what?

"Squirrel!", The unit of toxin measures is the Hemagglutinating unit (hau). That was a mouthful. Raw kidney beans contain from 20,000 to 70,000 hau, while fully cooked beans contain from 200 to 400 hau. White kidney beans, (You know the ones like Canneli?) about one-third the amount of the toxin compared to red kidney beans. Broad beans contain 5 to 10% of the amount that kidney beans have. In fact all the other bean varieties I looked at had a low hau count. Why kidney beans are such bad guys I don't know. I definitely wont be grinding them up when raw to add in breads to boost nutrition levels.

Okay, I lied. Isn't that what secret agent women do? Most of the time we don't even say squirrel. It is too much fun to see the puzzled look on a loved ones face when they can't keep up with the changes. It does not happen often because we are pretty good at the game. Actually it isn't a game since that is just how our brains work. We just don't rein the A.D.D. strains in when around family.

The toxic levels in other kinds of dried beans is very low. Since I can't get a decent crop of kidney beans anyway I'm going to substitute Jacob's Cattle instead.

"Squirrel" , I did an experiment with the beans I grew this year. My hypothesis was that kidney shaped beans would have a more firm texture when cooked and the rounder ones like Tongue of Fire and Kennearly would be softer. Wrong!! Jacob's Cattle if firm like kidney beans but Ireland Creek which is kidney shaped also is not firm but a nice quality for baked beans. Tongue of Fire is round and I thought might be quite soft but it held it's shape nicely in soup and was medium textured. Kennearly of course was buttery and had a quite soft texture, great for ham and bean soup and refried beans. Looks like I have my bean line up for next year's garden.

I will try Cranberry beans as a gentleman at Territory Seeds suggested I try it.

So there you have it, cook your kidney beans thoroughly unless you are an Agent Man.

To those of you who have commented and I have not commented back please be patient. I just found again where those they don't show up on the blog are hiding. That is I did find them but now I have to find them again. I answered a few. Now I have to go out and get to fencing again while the ground is soft.


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