To Rinse or Not to Rinse Beans, THAT is the Question

by Head Health Nutter on January 29, 2008

About 4 years ago, not only had I started a healthier lifestyle by spending more time preparing healthy meals, I had also just started dating the love of my life.

He went to Cuba for two weeks and upon his return, I thought I’d surprise him with an authentic Cuban dish, black bean soup (this isn’t the recipe but I tried this one recently and it was really yummy).

Total Health Blog | Healthy Eating Tips | Cooking Tips | Rinsing Canned Beans | How to Cook with Beans

In my excitement and inexperience (and lack of attention), I failed to rinse the canned beans. The soup turned out REALLY horrible. It was a poor resemblance of food, a murky and pasty black bean mush…

A few days later he bought me The Joy of Cooking. :)

This book is crazy informative and tells you everything you could ever want to know about cooking and food. Of course I wanted to find out why my Cuban black bean turned out so horrible so under the section, About Substituting Canned Beans , it says, “Rinsing canned beans improves the taste a little and removes excess salt.”

The University of Michigan Integrative Medicine says that soaking beans gets rid of the hard-to-digest, gas-producing sugars and rinsing canned beans is absolutely necessary…unless you WANT gas.

Just recently, however, I ran into a Hearty Four Bean Stew recipe that says NOT to drain the canned beans!

So this begs the question, even though these raffinose sugars are hard to digest for humans, do they have any nutritional benefits? If they do, then cooking with the liquid that beans are soaked in may be a healthy alternative to cooking with beans.

Agricultural research, at least one source, seems to suggest that raffinose is a waste sugar and has practically no nutritional benefit.

What do you folks say about cooking with the liquid found in canned beans?

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