© Denzil Green
These are red-coloured, 1 cm (1/2 inch) long beans shaped slightly like a kidney (they are actually more maroon coloured than red.) Their skin colour is solid with no markings. They cook up to a full-flavoured, smooth texture.
There are also white kidney beans, which have a milder flavour. The white ones are also known as cannellini beans.
You can buy red kidney beans canned, or dried. The dried ones need cooking before use.
Rinse canned ones in a colander, then proceed with your recipe.
For dried red kidney beans, simmer in a pot of water 3 hours on stove if not soaked overnight; if soaked, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
For pressure-cooking, either (a) soak overnight first for 12 hours, and then cook for 5 to 8 minutes on high, or, (b) unsoaked, 20 to 25 minutes on high. How long exactly will depend on how “old” the dried beans were and how much pressure your cooker operates on exactly under “high.” Add 750 ml (3 cups) of water for each 250 g (1 cup) of beans whether working with soaked or unsoaked. You may wish to add a bayleaf or two to the pot. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the cooking water to prevent vent clogging.
If you are making chili, and are thinking of cooking the dried beans right in the chili, don’t. Always cook them first, as the acid from the tomatoes will keep the bean skins tough otherwise.
Kidney beans, whether white or red, should never be eaten raw as they contain trace amounts of a poison that is destroyed by cooking.
1 pound dried = 450g = 2 to 2 1/2 cups dried = 5 to 6 cups, boiled
1 cup of dried beans = approx 250 g / 8 oz dried beans = approx 450 g / 3 cups, boiled
1 cup cooked, drained = 170g = 6 oz
1 15oz/420g tin, drained = 1 1/2 cups, cooked, drained
Kidney beans are a New World food and were brought over to the Old World by the Spanish. The word “kidney bean” was first used in England in 1551, as people began needing to distinguish New World beans from those that had already pre-existed in Europe.
The name “kidney” bean comes from the shape. They are called “Red Peas” in the Caribbean.