Undercooked beans. Will my (delicious) soup make me sick?
January 29, 2018 2:54 PM   Subscribe

I should have used my InstaPot to cook the beans... lesson learned. Details inside.

So... pregnancy brain. Not only did I completely forget to use my InstaPot, but I made a vegetarian bean soup with several varieties of beans, including red kidney beans, without soaking them first.

I dumped everything in the pot and cooked the soup for about an hour and twenty minutes, and then the soup sat on the stove for another half hour to 45 minutes to cool, then the pot went in the fridge. When I tasted the soup, it seemed like the beans were fully cooked. But today I heated it up for lunch and some of the beans were half cooked. I was hungry so I ate it anyway, not thinking anything of it, when I remembered that red beans might be toxic when not cooked thoroughly enough.


I'm going to go home and simmer the soup for as long as possible, but in the meantime. . . . am I going to get food poisoning, or worse? I'm 18 weeks pregnant.
posted by onecircleaday to Food & Drink (7 answers total)
Maybe call poison control ASAP. Quick Internet reading suggests the main symptoms are GI, but why trust the Internet with this?
posted by amtho at 3:08 PM on January 29, 2018

Did you bring the beans to a boil?
posted by Nimmie Amee at 3:10 PM on January 29, 2018

Undercooking is worse than eating them raw as it concentrates the toxin. You need to soak for 12 hours then boil for at least 10 minutes in clean water to remove/destroy the lectins/toxins. Is this likely to have happened in your food prep?

I'd contact a medical professional of to be sure as you are pregnant.
posted by wwax at 3:13 PM on January 29, 2018

If they were boiling for 30 minutes or more, the toxin should be destroyed even if the beans are not cooked to the point of being delicious. Also it's very rare for people to get dangerously sick from bean toxins - you vomit and have diarrhea, but then you get better.

Call the doctor or go to urgent care if you feel sick, but you're likely going to be fine.
posted by mskyle at 3:19 PM on January 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

It takes ~ 2-3 hours for symptoms of phytohaemagglutinin ingestion to show up. If you're outside that window, you're probably going to be fine. Worst-case, you'll have an unpleasant evening, but you should be fine after that, if you do feel ill -- usually it's just a few hours of food poisoning type symptoms.
posted by halation at 4:31 PM on January 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

I’ve eaten undercooked beans on a number of occasions (while pregnant), and the worst side effect was flatulence. Per Wikipedia , ten minutes of boiling should inactivate the toxin, and any effects should show up between 1-3 hours after consumption. Not yet vomiting? You are fine!

Calling poison control is free and easy, though, if it will put your mind at ease. Plus, you may as well have the number saved in your phone for future toddler needs (no matter what our toddlers have eaten, poison control always assured us they would be fine).
posted by Wavelet at 4:34 PM on January 29, 2018 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you, all... I'm fine.
posted by onecircleaday at 8:52 PM on January 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

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