Discard the soaking water

Every recipe I’ve ever read for soaking and then boiling dried beans says to discard the soaking water. None ever explained why, and I figured you were kind of cleaning the beans as you soaked them. Throw out the dirty water, get clean water, and boil ’em. Turns out that beans — even fresh from the garden, which you are waaaaay more likely to eat without boiling for a while — contain a toxin. A gastrointestinal purge kind of toxin. Phytohaemagglutinin, or pha … and some of it comes out in the soaking water (so throw that stuff out) and the rest is neutralized by boiling for at least ten minutes. This seems like really important information that’s missing in the whole “discard the soaking water” statement.

That’s a hard “no” on shelling some fresh beans from the garden and eating them as you walk around the yard. Also — cooking kidney beans with chili in a slow cooker? Bit of a risk.

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