Q&A: Foam from canned beans?

Foamy Beans

Chef Perry – I don’t know if you know the answer to this, and maybe I don’t want to know the answer either… but why when I rinse my  canned kidney beans d0 I see “foam”?

It looked like I had rinsed “soap” out….?

– Juliann

Dear Juliann:

Canned beans, like all canned products, are “cooked” in the sealed can to a minimum temp to make them safe for shelf life.

This process releases the natural starches into the water the beans are canned in, as this sits there for the life of the can, it thickens, and when you add fresh water to it, the starch creates a foam.

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Rinsing BeansYou really don’t have to rinse canned beans, depending on the usage (though it does reduce the sodium) it’s primarily to remove that excess starch that leeches out of the beans. If you’re making a thick soup/stew, then using them is okay (remember that you’re using more sodium that way, however).

For salads or salsas though, unrinsed  canned beans would be really slimy (again from the starches).

It really depends what you want your final products to be.

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Beans Soaking

Of course the best way to avoid this would be to soak a couple of cups of dried beans in a half gallon of room-temp water overnight, before cooking. A fraction of the sodium, better texture, better flavor, and it’s usually cheaper too!

Thanks for asking, I hope that clears things up for you!

Chef Perry

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