Can You Eat Raw Black Beans?

Black beans are a perfect addition to vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. They provide protein, fiber, antioxidants, and micronutrients for a balanced diet. You can find nutritious and tasty black beans in the dried or canned form at any supermarket. But if you’re curious about eating raw black beans, give this short guide a read.

Is it Safe to Eat Raw Black Beans?

According to the FDA, raw black beans are not safe to eat because they contain a harmful compound called phytohemagglutinin or lectins. This compound can be toxic in high amounts. This is a major concern with black kidney beans, which contain such moderate compound levels. Even eating 4 or 5 raw or undercooked may be toxic.

Fortunately, cooking black beans thoroughly breaks down the toxin in the beans. We recommend boiling beans for a minimum of 10 minutes before eating them. The U.S Food and Drug Administration recommends against cooking dried beans in a slow cooker because these devices cook food at temperatures that can’t break down phytohemagglutinin and may even raise the levels of this toxin.

Ate Raw Beans? Here’s How to Avoid Lectin Poisoning.

How to cook black beans?

Before you cook black beans, it’s important to soak them.

Soaking Black Beans

There are two methods of soaking black beans; Overnight and quick-soak.

Overnight method: Place the black beans in a large container and cover them with two inches of water. Let the black beans sit overnight. Before cooking the next morning, drain the beans and transfer them to a pot.

Once your black beans have been soaked, follow these directions to cook them:

  • Bring black beans to a boil, and then reduce the heat to let them cook for roughly two hours. Stir the beans from time to prevent them from sticking to the pot. Older black beans could take longer to cook. Fresher dried beans retain more moisture and cook in less time.
  • If you think you need additional water during the cooking process, add boiling hot water rather than cold water.
  • Avoid adding salt or any acidic ingredients such as lemon, wine, vinegar, or tomatoes until the beans are nearly done. Adding these ingredients earlier can change the texture of the black beans and make them tough.
  • Many cultures have traditionally added herbs to combat flatulence, which can be produced by eating black beans. Among them are epazote and summer savory. Add these herbs at the end of the cooking time if needed.
  • Once the black beans are fully cooked, add them to your recipes or simply season them with spices and olive oil to enjoy them in their purest state. You can also throw in some chopped onions and lemon juice for that extra punch.

Can Raw or Under-cooked Black Beans Make You Sick?

If you don’t soak and cook your black beans for long enough, you could easily get ill. Soaking the beans before cooking them is an important part of the process to ensure you remove all lectins, but soaking by itself is not enough—you must also cook the beans thoroughly. So, how can you cook beans to ensure they’re edible and non-toxic? Properly cooked beans are soft and tender. If your beans feel hard after cooking them, let them stew for longer and serve only when they’re soft.

Doctor and medical researcher Daniel Boyer, MD, has a special trick to help you know when your beans are safe to eat. “To know if your beans are done—blow on a spoonful of them,” he says. “If their skins peel back, they are almost done.”

How to Prepare Black Beans – FDA Recommendations

You should follow the FDA’s recommendations when preparing black beans to be safe. According to the “Bad Bug Book,” black beans should be soaked in water for five hours. After that, you should swap out the tainted bean water for freshwater and boil the beans for 10-30 minutes.

Can Black Beans Give You Food Poisoning?

Black beans can cause food poisoning if you don’t cook them properly. As mentioned earlier, the issue is caused by a plant compound called phytohaemagglutinin.

Raw Black Bean Poisoning Symptoms

Some common symptoms of black bean poising include;

Within one to three hours of consumption of the raw black beans, you can experience

  • Extreme nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain

You can experience these symptoms within three hours of consumption of the raw black beans. Raw or undercooked bean toxicity doesn’t result in death, and recovery is usually quick.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do if you’ve eaten undercooked black beans?

You don’t have to do anything special. If it was dried black beans, and they were still hard, try eating a big salad or drink lots of water to help the beans pass through your digestive tract. Don’t be alarmed if you have to fart a lot.

Can you eat black beans from a can without cooking them?

Yes, you can eat beans straight out of the can. But you should drain and rinse them first, as canned beans contain excessive sodium. Learn more about our favorite ways to prepare canned black beans here.

Is it OK to eat raw soaked black beans?

No. Eating raw soaked beans is not a smart idea. It can cause an adverse reaction and make you nauseous.

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