How to Cook, Soak and Freeze Red Kidney Beans – Learn how to cook dried red kidney beans to prepare them for use in recipes. Includes storage and freezing techniques.
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This tutorial will teach you how to cook, soak, prepare and freeze red kidney beans for use in recipes. Red kidney beans are believed to have originated in Peru over 8,000 years ago, along with several other beans known collectively as “common beans.” They were cultivated in Louisiana during the 17th century and planted by Spanish settlers. When Haitians arrived in New Orleans, red beans and rice became a popular dish in the regional cuisine. Red beans hold up well during cooking, making them perfect for simmered dishes.
Kidney beans should always be well cooked. It is important to note that you should never cook raw, dried kidney beans in the slow cooker. According to the F.D.A., red kidney beans contain high concentrations of Phytohemagglutinin:
“The syndrome is usually caused by the ingestion of raw, soaked kidney beans, either alone or in salads or casseroles. As few as four or five raw beans can trigger symptoms. Several outbreaks have been associated with “slow cookers” or crock pots, or in casseroles which had not reached a high enough internal temperature to destroy the glycoprotein lectin. It has been shown that heating to 80°C may potentiate the toxicity five-fold, so that these beans are more toxic than if eaten raw. In studies of casseroles cooked in slow cookers, internal temperatures often did not exceed 75°C.”
Beans and legumes are a great source of fiber, protein, fiber, iron, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium and many other beneficial nutrients. I prefer dried beans over canned for several reasons. They are more economical than canned beans and do not contain the unnecessary additives like sodium.
The method below uses a ratio of 10 cups of water per pound of dried kidney beans. If you plan to use a different amount, please adjust accordingly using this ratio. You may notice that the color of dried kidney beans that have been cooked on the stovetop are lighter in color (more pink) than canned versions (which tend to be deep red in color). I believe this has something to do with the cooking method involved. Either way, it’s not a cause for concern.