Is It Necessary To Cook Canned Black Beans Before Eating Them?

bowl of canned black beans
bowl of canned black beans - Candice Bell/Getty Images

Canned black beans are definitely worth buying. Loaded with fiber, B vitamins, and essential minerals, black beans are a heart-healthy option when you're looking to add protein to your diet. With a mild, meaty flavor, these versatile beans can be incorporated into any number of dishes — vegan or otherwise. (In fact, we've compiled 19 of the best black bean recipes for you). If that's not enough to put black beans at the top of your shopping list, we haven't yet gotten to the very best part. You can eat them straight out of the can.

While dried black beans need to be soaked and boiled before you can eat them, the canned variety is already cooked. During the canning process, dried beans are blanched in hot water, which rehydrates them. The rehydrated beans are hermetically sealed in a can with water, salt, and starch, and then pressure cooked. While the high heat of the pressure cooker kills bacteria responsible for food spoilage, preserving food for long-term storage, it also pre-cooks the beans so they are ready to eat.

Read more: 16 Little-Known Facts About Salt

To Rinse Or Not To Rinse

black beans in strainer
black beans in strainer - Merrimon/Getty Images

Canned black beans are covered with a viscous liquid that typically consists of water, salt, and starch, the latter of which acts as a thickening agent. Because the beans are cooked in this liquid during the canning process, it also takes on some of the beans' dark color and earthy flavor, which is why you should think twice before throwing out that canned bean liquid.

The bean brine can be used as a stock of sorts and incorporated into dishes for an extra boost of bean flavor. Because this liquid is usually laden with starch, cooking re-fried black beans in the bean liquid can make for an extremely creamy final product. However, those looking to reduce their salt intake would do well to drain and rinse the beans before consuming them. According to a study cited by the Bean Institute, the sodium content in canned black beans can be reduced by a whopping 41% by simply draining and rinsing them before eating them.

Read the original article on Mashed