Yesterday I was stirring a pot of beans. This should be done carefully and not too much. It doesn’t have to be bean sauce. Those beans had obviously been soaked since the night before. But it’s not a recipe for a quick dinner. First let the beans boil for an hour. Then with the other ingredients of the cassoulet, feijoada or whatever. You have to give bean dishes time. Caution is also good with beans, no matter how firm they look.
First of all, beans need to be cooked, as I learned a few months ago with hardship. I had the chance to buy fresh beans, Phaseolus vulgaris, regular beans. They were beautiful white ones, still packed in their semi-green pods and they came so fresh from the plant that they were barely dry: ‘des mi-secs’, as the farmers in the Vendée say, not with a little pride.
You have to give bean dishes time. Caution is also good with beans, no matter how sturdy they look
With joy I shelled them and then cooked them. They looked cute. But how long should you cook fresh beans? Shorter than last year’s dry spell, I would think? Instead of an hour, I thought of half an hour. I tasted and they tasted good and were no longer hard. For example, I decorated them with herbs and sauce and then devoured them with a dash of bacon.
Less tasty afterwards
The misery started in the middle of the next night. Everyone knows that beans have musical effects. The eater learns flawlessly to imitate trumpet and tuba, without using his mouth. But this was not a simple intestinal tumult. This was pain. I got up sweating and the pain got so bad it made me nauseous. My body wanted the delinquent food out, and as quickly as possible. That also happened, my body couldn’t choose which side first! And with that, the greatest suffering was immediately suffered. But I was left with trembling legs after a frightening experience.
The bad guy
What had happened? Beans of the genus Phaseolus, and especially fresh beans, contain phytohemagglutinin, also known as fasin. This is a type of lectin, much like the more dreaded ricin, which appears in the better spy stories. As the name makes clear, phytohemagglutinin makes blood cells clump. In addition, it causes body cells to divide. Cozy.
Good cooking is important
So you see that you always have to cook beans sufficiently. Fasine poisoning has resurfaced in recent years due to the popularity of slow cookers and low-temperature cooking. Where with simmering cooking the fasine is completely destroyed by the heat, this is not guaranteed with ‘stewing’ at a lower temperature. When those lower temperatures are also combined with impatient cooks – as there are many today – then the problems are lurking. Also try not to eat raw beans, four or five beans can already cause symptoms of poisoning. Kidney beans are the worst!
I didn’t prepare all my beans at once. After all, I had bought a large kilo and for this experiment I was alone. The rest was tossed into the cauldron for a full hour a few days later. There were no bad consequences. By the way, you can let your beans rise for hours, in sauce for example, but on a small burner, to avoid the above-mentioned bean purée.
However, bean sauce is a Mexican specialty. Beans originate from Mexico and so they know everything about cooking beans there. You cook them with onion, chopped jalapeño, black pepper and cumin. Then you mash it into a puree. Refried beans are served as an accompaniment to just about anything, even breakfast. Tasty.
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Beware of slow-cooked beans! – Fasine poisoning lurks – Foodlog