A few days ago, I wrote about the reasons that beans may not get hard after cooking. Today I’ll address a different issue that also relates to beans that may have not been stored carefully: infestation. To avoid problems of infestation of grains and legumes, first follow the suggestions in my earlier post on how to prevent insect infestation.
I generally prepare beans in bulk, especially types that take a long time to cook. The other day, after soaking a kilogram of dried kidney beans, I noticed many suspicious-looking holes. Holes are a sign that insects have invaded and may have taken up residence in your food. I’m pretty sure I would have noticed the holes before soaking, had I looked carefully, but soaking enabled me to take them apart and look inside. I am sharing the pictures with you, of course. If the idea makes you queasy, I suggest you stop reading now.
With light-colored beans, like navy beans, you can actually see the insect residing under the skin if the beans have been soaked.
After soaking I picked up small handfuls, lay the beans out on my palm, looked for blemishes, and flipped them over on to the other hand to view the second side. I didn’t open them up right away, to save time. I found 20 or so infested beans in the package. In the end I only needed to open a few samples to see that most were not worth salvaging. In a few cases, the infestation only went a couple of millimeters deep.
Below you can see a bean with one hole, and how it looked inside:
Here is another bean, with two insect holes:
Despite this being the worst case of infestation I’ve seen in a long time, most of the beans were fine and tasty. They did take a long time to cook, though.