Yes, uncooked kidney beans can be poisonous – here’s how to prepare them safely

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According to the FDA, all it takes to safely prepare dried beans (or any of those listed above) is to soak the beans in water for 5 hours and bring them to a boil for at least 30 minutes. Avoid the temptation to use the soaking water to boil it – it could make you sick! The FDA recommends discarding this water and boiling it fresh. The Harvard School of Public Health even recommends draining and rinsing boiled beans thoroughly to ensure that all denatured toxic proteins are removed. However, since the toxin is destroyed by heat, this is just for safety. While many say cooking for 10 minutes is long enough, a 2020 outbreak in Denmark that sickened 45 of them was traced to beans that were only cooked for 10 to 15 minutes (via Food Safety News).

If you’re planning on adding easy baked beans as a side to a summer barbecue, cooking is perfectly safe. Regardless of the cooking method, the temperature should reach at least 212 F. Slow cookers simply don’t get hot enough to break down toxic proteins. Store-bought canned beans, on the other hand, are perfectly safe, so you can feel good about tossing a quick Taco Bell-like bean burrito in the microwave (via University of Illinois Extension). It may sound scary, but kidney bean poisoning can be easily avoided with little to no prep work. Remember to keep your dried beans away from the slow cooker.

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