Slow cooking black beans - help?
I have a new slow cooker and excitedly decided to try black beans. The recipe I found did *not* have me boil the beans prior to the slow cooking. I have found mixed information on whether there are toxins in black beans that need to be boiled out. After 8 hours of cooking I don't want to throw it out, could I boil now (without then tossing the cooking liquid).
I also did not soak the beans (recipe didn't call for it) either - all very different from my standard bean cooking habits...
As far as I know, kidney beans are the only ones you can't eat raw. Its not boiling it out, it's the fact that heat destroys (breaks down) the toxin into harmless substances.
Throwing the first boil or soaking water out is intended to reduce the substances in the beans that cause some people, errr, "gastrointestinal distress".
All dry beans should really be soaked overnight, or boiled for 10 mins, then pour off the original water (degassing the beans). Then bring to the boil again with fresh water, turn off the heat and let soak in the hot water for an hour. Cook as usual.
At this point I'd finish on the stove. Bring to a boil and simmer, it should be done in an hour or so.
The only reason to toss the water is to "degas" the beans. Cooking at the boiling point for at least 10 minutes will destroy the toxin.
Even though the recipe didn't specify, the beans should have been soaked overnight or at least a quick start where you bring the beans to a simmer for 20 min then turn them off and let soak for an hour and proceed with your recipe. I once cooked dried beans for 12 hours in a slowcooker without soaking and they were as hard as if they were never cooked at all.
For future reference, I recommend simmering the beans after soaking overnight for at least an hour then put them in the slow cooker. For now, you can put your beans into a pot and simmer until softened.