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Poison in dry pulses - why do people say raw dry beans are toxic/poisonous?  RSS feed

 
Michelle Bisson
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Does sprouting chickpeas and other pulses get rid of the "poison".

I am still confused about all this "poison" talk. 

Like is it mildly poison or strongly poison?  How much can we eat raw without getting sick? Ex. If we eat an onze raw or lightly cooked, will we get sick.  I have eaten pea sprouts raw but never felt any ill effects.  Is it the poison that gives some people gas? I never get gas from pulses.  Or are there serious poison issues?  

I add sprouted lentils to my salad.

I am confused about all of this.

If this post needs to be moved to another thread, please do so.


Staff note (r ranson):

This conversation started as a tangent in the making chickpea flour conversation. It's such an interesting topic, it now has its own thread.

 
Ellie Strand
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I've never ground garbanzos/chickpeas, but a traditional way of ridding pulses and grains of "poisons" is to let them soak overnight. The sprouting that begins during the soak neutralizes phytic acids. You then dry the soaked legumes/grains on lowest heat in a dehydrator. Unfortunately, the lowest temp on an oven is too high to retain vital enzymes, but go ahead and roast them to dry and add flavor!
 
Ellie Strand
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Michelle, to answer your question about "poisons" in this thread, I'll quote Wardee Harmon, from Traditional Cooking School dot com.

"God's design for all seeds (whether grain, nuts, or what we usually think of as seeds, like pumpkin seeds) was for
them to be stable until the time of germination. So He put protective measures in place — these protective
measures get in the way of nutrition or digestion. They are:
* Phytic acid. All whole grains contain phytic acid in the outer layer, or bran. This phytic acid combines with
calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc in the intestinal track, blocking mineral absorption. A diet high in
untreated, cooked whole grains may lead to mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
* Enzyme inhibitors. Raw, untreated, and uncooked whole grains, like all seeds, contain enzyme inhibitors.
Digestion is impaired when the enzyme inhibitors prevent digestive enzymes from doing their work.
*Difficult to digest proteins. The proteins in grains, such as gluten, are more difficult to digest. The process of
soaking (and fermenting) grains partially breaks down the difficult proteins into more easily digestible
components."

So, it's not really "poison" as such, but becoming aware of these and taking steps to minimize their damage on digestion will improve your microbiome.
 
Casie Becker
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Many legumes do have actual poisons. Supposedly one of the worst offenders is raw red kidney beans which can actually be deadly. This page has a good explaination http://www.medic8.com/healthguide/food-poisoning/red-kidney-bean-toxins.html Luckily, like most bean toxins, cooking the beans destroys the toxins. That would be why it's a fairly rare problem.

I consider this thread https://permies.com/t/53160/kitchen/Cooking-Dry-Beans-Peas to have the most complete information in one place that I've ever seen about this. There's a fair bit of discussion about the different amounts and kinds of poisons in different legumes and the safe methods of preparing them.
 
Dan Boone
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Poison and toxic are very loose, poorly defined words.  For instance if you read the link about red kidney bean "poison", you'll find that the compound makes people sick, but isn't fatal, at least in the amounts that people eat.  (The dose makes the poison, as they say, which further complicates these questions.)  What's more, some food compounds are more like "anti-nutrients" -- they don't hurt you directly but they are indigestible for some people or they interfere with digestion of other nutrients.  So it's all very complicated.

I eat huge amounts of dried beans, but I cook them well.  My slow cooker isn't "low temperature" -- stuff in there boils, which is as hot as you can get without a pressure cooker.  And I prefer to use a pressure cooker, at long cook times that some people here on permies have hassled me about as "missing the point" of using a pressure cooker.  I don't consider raw dry beans to be poisonous; I consider them to be indigestible, which means there's no more point in eating them than there is in eating a bunch of tiny rocks.  Thus the specifics of what they do to your system if you eat them don't seem relevant to me.  They are "good eats" when properly cooked, which is all that matters to me.

Edited because I got off-tangent with regard to the sprouting questions.  All I can say there is that sprouted beans don't taste good to me or agree with my digestion.  My body tells me not to eat these.  I don't conceptualize this as a poison or toxicity issue, just as a "not food" issue.  Obviously other people have a very different experience. We are complicated and diverse critters.
 
Anne Miller
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Michelle Bisson wrote:Does sprouting chickpeas and other pulses get rid of the "poison".   I am still confused about all this "poison" talk. 

Like is it mildly poison or strongly poison?  How much can we eat raw without getting sick? Ex. If we eat an onze raw or lightly cooked, will we get sick.  I have eaten pea sprouts raw but never felt any ill effects.  Is it the poison that gives some people gas? I never get gas from pulses.  Or are there serious poison issues?   I add sprouted lentils to my salad.

I am confused about all of this.


I recently posted a thread about sprouting.  It has some links related to these toxins.

https://permies.com/t/60049/kitchen/ Getting your seeds for sprouting at the grocery store

Basically sprouts from pulses need to cooked then you can put them on a salad.  I only eat them in soup or casseroles.  Also the concern seems to be when you eat a lot of them. This article might help explain:

http://www.sproutnet.com/Natural-Toxins-in-Sprouted-Seeds
 
ronie dee
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It's a little hard to decide where to post this as it covers a ton of info on beans. This is a long term study by the Extension Utah State University. 

Please notice under NUTRITION & ALLERGIES it states that you would have to eat your weight in beans at one setting, in order to reach a toxic level of poison. http://extension.usu.edu/foodstorage/htm/dry-beans

Legume (Bean) varieties such as: Adzuki, Black, Black-eyed, Black Turtle, Garbanzo, Great Northern, Kidney, Lentils, Lima, Mung, Navy, Pink, Pinto, Small Red, Soy, and Split-pea can all be dried and stored.

Quality & Purchase. For the most part, dry beans are graded U.S. No.1 (best) through U.S. No. 3, based on defects. Lesser quality beans are generally graded “substandard” or “sample”.

Packaging. Like most stored foods, beans are best stored in the absence of oxygen and light. Oxygen can lead to rancidity of bean oils and light will quickly fade bean color. The packaging choices are #10 cans or Mylar-type bags. Canning jars are suitable for smaller quantities providing the jars are stored in a dark place. Oxygen absorbers should be used to remove oxygen from the packages to extend shelf life and minimize off-flavors.

Storage Conditions. Beans in normal polyethylene (food-grade) bags have a shelf life of 1 year or more. Like most stored foods, colder storage temperatures will increase shelf life. When packaged in #10 cans or Mylar-type bags, with the oxygen removed, they have a shelf life of 10 or more years1. A 1BYU. study indicated that pinto beans did experience a slight loss of quality during storage. However, samples that had been stored up to 30 years had greater than 80 percent acceptance by a consumer taste panel for emergency food use. The study concluded that pinto beans should be considered acceptable for use in long-term food storage efforts.

Nutrition & Allergies. Dry beans average about 22 percent protein in the seed, the highest protein content of any seed crop. They contain all essential amino acids, except methionine. Methionine can be obtained from corn, rice, or meat. Beans are an excellent source of fiber, starch, minerals and some vitamins. Some beans have a human digestion enzyme inhibitor. This enzyme can cause a nutritional deficiency if the beans are eaten raw. Cooking destroys the enzyme. Most beans naturally contain cyanogens4. These are sugars with a cyanide component attached (C-N). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows levels of cyanide in dried beans up to 25 ppm. Small amounts can be handled by the human liver and are not toxic. Cooking will also help break down and remove the cyanide.Toxicity levels are hard to reach -- It would require a person eating approximately one pound of beans for each pound of their weight at one sitting.

Shelf life.  Scientific studies on vitamin loss in dried beans during prolonged storage could not be found. The loss would be expected to follow similar patterns as other long term stored foods where vitamin degradation occurs after 2-3 years and most vitamins are no longer present after approximately five years. Storage at warm temperatures will accelerate vitamin degradation. The other nutritional components (proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, etc) should remain unchanged during long term storage.

Use from storage. All dried beans, except lentils and split peas, require soaking in water for rehydration. Typically, 3 cups of water is needed for every 1 cup of dried beans. Allow beans to soak overnight and then rinse them in clean water. To cook beans, cover rehydrated beans with water in a stock pot. Simmer for 2-4 hours until beans are tender. Once tender they can be spiced and used in cooking recipes. As dried beans age the seeds become harder. This results in longer rehydration and cooking times. At some point, the seeds will no longer rehydrate and in that case must be ground as bean flour. One study3 found that small amounts of baking soda can help soften beans during soaking.  Note: There is a quick soak method that boils dry beans for 1 minute then leaves them soak for several hours as they cool. This method is not recommended due to the potential of foodborne illness bacterial spores growing. The heat activates the spores and the warm temperatures during cooling favors their growth.

References.
1Larson, Sloan, Ogden and Pike. 2005. Effects of long-term storage on quality of retail-packaged pinto beans. IFT Annual Meeting Abstract. 54H-1. Available at: http://ift.confex.com/ift/2005/techprogram/paper_28584.htm.

2Hentges, D. L., C. M. Weaver, and S. S. Nielsen. 1990. Reversibility of the Hard to Cook Defect in Dry Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) and Cow Peas (Vigna unguiculata). Journal of Food Science. 55(5):1474-1476.

3de León, Elías and Bressani. 1993. Effect of salt solutions on the cooking time, nutritional and sensory characteristics of common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). Food Research International: 25: 131-136.

4Vetter. Plant cyanogenic glycosides. Toxicon. 2000 Jan;38(1):11-36. Abstract available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10669009.

 
 
r ranson
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Neat article.

Toxicity levels are hard to reach -- It would require a person eating approximately one pound of beans for each pound of their weight at one sitting. 


Is this bit referring to all toxicity or just the cyanide mentioned in the sentence before?

Also, is it referring to cooked or raw?  Looking at the structure of the paragraph, I'm inclined to think cooked as mentioned in the sentence prior.

 
ronie dee
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R Ranson wrote:Net article.

Toxicity levels are hard to reach -- It would require a person eating approximately one pound of beans for each pound of their weight at one sitting. 


Is this bit referring to all toxicity or just the cyanide mentioned in the sentence before?

Also, is it referring to cooked or raw?  Looking at the structure of the paragraph, I'm inclined to think cooked as mentioned in the sentence prior.



Yeah I had questions too. I'm assuming cooked correctly also. What other poison do you think is in the beans? I am assuming that the cyanide like chemical that is bound in the hydrocarbon, is the only poison in the bean or they would have mentioned any other poison. The enzyme inhibitor wouldn't be a poison and it is destroyed in cooking. Near the top I added the link to the Utah University article. It has other info there too.

There is a lot more cyanide in rice than in beans that isn't denatured with cooking. I like the idea of beans and corn meeting the needed protein requirement. It seems that there is cyanide in a lot of foods. So I still eat some rice and store rice for emergency use. Consumer Reports recommended limiting rice to a few servings a week in 2016, then retracted it the next month. It seems that the health benefits of eating whole grains outweighs any negative of the small amount of cyanide.
 
r ranson
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What other poison do you think is in the beans?


I'm not sure.  I try not to use 'poison' when talking about beans.  I know, I know, it's in the title of this thread but that's because it's the word everyone else was using. 

I tend to think of it as 'toxins'.  Perhaps not in the official sense of the word, but I like this word as it feels less drastic than 'poison'. 

We have cyanide and enzyme inhibitors (anti-nutrient) as the main ones.  There are things like Favaism which depends on ones genetic heritage.   There's also a few things that can cause gastric upset, but I can't remember what it is. 

I have to admit, I'm pretty lazy when it comes to learning about this kind of thing in beans.  I really should pay more attention as I'm keen to eat more beans and want to make them as easy as possible to digest. 

 
ronie dee
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It seems everything that is good for us, also ends us in the long run. Solar radiation, foods and oxygen all needed for life, poison us give us cancer and age us. It seems to be a matter of what kills us the slowest is best for us. Most nutritionists agree that beans are one of the healthiest foods on the planet.
 
Devin Lavign
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Wasn't sure where to put this, so ended up here. If it should be somewhere else, please move it.

Sci show just did an episode on Fava beans and how a segment of humans have severe even life threatening reactions to them and even their pollen.



I felt this was worth sharing since the info could literally save a life.
 
mary jayne richmond
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I've been seeing a lot of mention of the bean poison if the beans are not cooked well enough, does anyone know if you toasted the bean flour before you use it if it would be enough to destroy the poison, I'm trying to use as much as possible from what we grow and we grow a lot of beans....so if i could make bean flour and use it for certain recipes then i could back off some on buying other grains for flour
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Mary Jane: Can you taste bean poison? It is very evident to me...

Perhaps toast some bean flour, and then taste it. Does it still taste poisonous? I suspect that the poison may  only be deactivated when it is heated in the presence of water. But it would be worth doing the experiment... Red kidney beans would be a great variety to experiment with, since the poison seems so strong in that variety.



 
Anne Miller
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What will you be using the bean flour for where it will not be cooked?

In my thinking, if you bake bread, the bean flour will be cooked?

You could use cooked mashed beans in place of flour in most recipes.  I make a chocolate cake recipe that uses cooked mashed beans.  In some recipes if it calls for 2 cups flour, use 2 cups mashed beans.  You might have to adjust more or less.
 
Michael Cox
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Bean poison takes a lot of cooking to get rid of, and having experienced it first hand I wouldn't want to take any chances. Bread baking doesn't sound nearly long or hot enough.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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The main cause is a toxin called ‘phytohaemagglutinin’ or kidney bean lectin. This is a sugar based protein (glycoprotein) which is found in many types of beans which includes cannellini beans and broad beans.
•Soak the red kidney beans for up to 8 hours. This can be done overnight if you prefer.
•Drain and rinse these beans. Throw this water away
•Put these beans in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil
•Boil them for at least 10 minutes to destroy the toxins
•Simmer them for 45 minutes to an hour

If beans are still hard in the center then cook them for longer until they have softened.

To make a "de-poisoned" bean flour soak and cook the beans then dry them so they can be ground into a bean flour.

Hope this information is helpful.

Redhawk
 
mary jayne richmond
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i was looking at replacing the regular flour in cornbread with the bean flour, because i can grow both, but like Michael was saying about baking not being quite hot enough...i had that thought also.  Bryant i like your idea of cooking them first and then drying  and then grinding, will the " instant " bean flour work the same way? that's why i thought maybe toasting the flour first would work, a hot cast iron pan maybe hotter than the baking temps.  thanks every one for your input, maybe tomorrow i can see about toasting some flour
 
Gilbert Fritz
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I'd add that sprouting beans can get rid of some other anti-nutrient factors. Sprouting will not reliably get rid of the lectins in most beans, including kidney beans, so you would still have to cook them after sprouting.
 
Anne Miller
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This thread gives information on how to roast pulses [beans]:

https://permies.com/t/60351/kitchen/Making-chickpea-flour-home-called

Here is a quote:

raven ranson wrote:I won't be using the stone flour mill because the oils in beans can gum up the stones.  But I do have a metal grinder that is often used for corn and can grind both wet and dry.  I'm going to start there first.

In The power of pulses, Dan says

Grinding Gluten-Free Flour from Pulses

You can grind your own flour from pulses useing a blender or flour mill...

Each pulse offers a slightly different texture and flavour of flour.  choose from chickpeas, lentils or small beans.  You can also experiment with roasting your pulses first - no more than 20 minuites at 350F - to ease the grinding and give your flour a nuttier flavour.  Or roast the flour itself in the oven in an uncovered cast iron frying pan for a simular amount of time ot enrich its flavour, stirring with a fork every 3 to 4 minutes so that it browns evenly.

After grinding, store your pulse flour in an airtight container in a coll and dry place, or freeze to keep it super-fresh. 

Chickpea flour (also called besan or gram flour) is by far the most popular...


Another bean cooking fail that I see from time to time, is that someone grinds up dry beans to make flour, then they use the flour to make bread... That really accentuates the taste of the bean poison to me. Breads just don't get hot enough to deactivate the poison. So whenever anyone tells me that they are going to add beans to a bread, I recommend that they cook the beans first, and then mash them before adding to the bread. 




 
Michael Cox
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The pulses you describe are not really all that high in the bean toxins in the first place, unlike for example red kidney beans. Lentils cook from dry in about 20 minutes for example.
 
Anne Miller
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mary jayne richmond wrote:i was looking at replacing the regular flour in cornbread with the bean flour, because i can grow both, but like Michael was saying about baking not being quite hot enough...i had that thought also.  Bryant i like your idea of cooking them first and then drying  and then grinding, will the " instant " bean flour work the same way? that's why i thought maybe toasting the flour first would work, a hot cast iron pan maybe hotter than the baking temps.  thanks every one for your input, maybe tomorrow i can see about toasting some flour


Mary Jayne, maybe it would help if you told us what kind of beans you are growing.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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mary jayne richmond wrote:i was looking at replacing the regular flour in cornbread with the bean flour, because i can grow both, but like Michael was saying about baking not being quite hot enough...i had that thought also.  Bryant i like your idea of cooking them first and then drying  and then grinding, will the " instant " bean flour work the same way? that's why i thought maybe toasting the flour first would work, a hot cast iron pan maybe hotter than the baking temps.  thanks every one for your input, maybe tomorrow i can see about toasting some flour


To destroy phytohemagglutinin the heat needs to be 212 f or above and the duration of this level of heat is 10 minutes or longer (better to err on the long time side).
If you roast beans enough to destroy the toxin you have possibly burned the beans ,which will bring up another set of issues which are carcinogenic compounds forming.

I would think that a best method would be to first soak and cook the beans then roast for development of those flavor profiles that come from roasting.

Redhawk
 
mary jayne richmond
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i  have jacobs cattle bean, cranberry beans black beans and navy beans, ithink maybe it would be best to fully cook the beans first and then add them to the cornbread and adjust the liquid  accordingly. thank you all for the comments, this has been very helpful
 
Bryant RedHawk
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I make  cornbread with a mix of corn meal and corn flour myself. Usually mine is done in a cast iron skillet with bacon grease or lard as the fat.

Your idea has me ready to do some experimenting with bean flour now. Thank you for the inspiration.

Redhawk
 
mary jayne richmond
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Bryant Redhawk, i would love your recipe using both cornmeal and corn flour,  do you need to nix the corn flour?
 
mary jayne richmond
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update.... my bean cornbread adventure...   i was trying to make a "bread" of some sort that i could grow all of the ingredients  well i think with the help of veryone on this post i've been able to do just that,  so here's the recipe i used and i was very happy with how it turned out it was a bit more crumbly than my flour version.   1 cup corn meal... 1 cup of cooked drained beans...1/3 cup of maple syrup...1/2 teaspoon salt... 3 teaspoons of baking powder.... 1 egg...  1/4 cup shortening melted... in a bowl i put the cornmeal, salt and baking powder... then i put the beans,maple syrup,egg. and melted shortening in the blender until i had a smooth batter... then mixed them together, and baked it at 400 degrees for about 25 min.    grease the pan your going to put it in.   so, cornmeal, beans, maple syrup, egg, and shortening {read rendered lamb fat } all came off the farm. only the baking powder and the salt were bought.   very happy with the out come,  thanks everyone for the suggestions
 
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First as mentioned you will have to investigate that for each bean because each bean is different. Usually beans are soaked AND cooked and the water is changed. 8 hours are not enough I do 12 hours or more. Maybe sprouting and then milling would do the trick?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Mary Jane, Your recipe sounds really good and I will be making it soon. Thank you for sharing it.

Here is the recipe I use for skillet cornbread.

2    cups corn meal, not self-rising
1    cup corn flour (you can turn corn meal into corn flour in a food processor or blender should you not be able to find it at a store, do not use Masa flour, it is different somehow)
1    whole egg
1/2 tsp salt
2    tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
approx. 1.2 cup goat milk

Place enough lard or bacon grease in a cast iron skillet to cover bottom around 1/4 inch deep when melted, place in 350 degree oven to heat skillet and melt the fat.

mix dry ingredients in a bowl.

mix wet ingredients then combine the wet ingredients into the dry to form batter. (should be just a little loose like a waffle batter)

Remove skillet from oven and pour in batter then place back in oven.

cook until top begins to turn golden brown.

Remove and set on trivet or stove top to finish cooking and then cool.


This is an old recipe from one of the grandmothers, she told me it was how her mother taught her to make it.

Redhawk
 
mary jayne richmond
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Thank you Bryant, it sounds great i will try this recipe on my next corn bread baking day,
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