Here I’m going to post an informative and philosophical essay on the subject of canned black beans.
Oh canned black beans! So tempting, and yet, so deceptive.
I say this because canned black beans are not my favoured sort of black beans. For sure, a can of black beans is far better than having no black beans at all. Of course! Give me a can of black beans over all the dry kidney beans in China.
But that doesn’t make it okay, alright? Seriously.
Canned black beans do have the same nutritional value as black beans which you have cooked from dry. They do. But what this doesn’t factor in are subtler things than what you read on the food label.
I am quite sensitive to the “energy” and feel of my food. When I eat canned black beans, I notice that they feel energetically very dead and heavy.
Raw food, energetically speaking, feels lightest and healthiest. I get the most energy from eating raw food. After all, it’s alive.
You can’t eat black beans raw, of course, but you don’t need to; when you cook black beans yourself, they still have some life energy in them, or so believe. The longer you leave a food after cooking it, though, the more of its life energy seeps away.
Hence, a canned food like canned black beans is just not as good. It is cooked, and sealed, and left for a very long time before you finally open it and eat it; almost certainly months, quite likely a year or years. While it can’t go off, I believe this subtle “life energy” does disappear.
What’s more, canned black beans absorb a little of the metal on the inside of the can and/or the plastic coating the inside of the can. Plastic is toxic, and while not much of it gets absorbed, a little does get into your food, especially if it is left to soak like this for months.
And metal? Iron isn’t so bad, but if your can is made of aluminium, be aware that this is very bad for your health. And if it’s made of iron, some of the flavour of that metal WILL seep into the food. You can taste it. Ick.
Finally, if you cook your own beans you can keep the cooking liquid. Though I don’t have any figures on it, I think about half of the nutrients disappear into the cooking water (not counting protein, carbs and fibre – I mean the good stuff like minerals, vitamins and antioxidants). This black bean broth has a great flavour and lots of nutritional properties – people use it as a cure for gout!
I just can’t stand throwing nutrients away. I always avoid it if I can. Which is why I love to keep my black bean broth and use it in other recipes (such as my Easy Black Bean Recipe With Aubergine). You can’t do that with canned black beans.
And making black bean soup with canned beans? Please. The whole point of black bean soup is that you get both the beans and the delicious cooking water in one rich recipe. Don’t settle for less.