Black Beans not softening

I made a mistake of not boiling my black beans for a veggie chilli before adding other ingredients. They were soaked quickly, for 2 hours after bringing to the boil for 2 mins. I then drained the water, added stock and boiled whilst adding the rest of the ingredients as I peeled and chopped them. I think the salt and acid have inhibited the cooking, so after 4 + hours (with an overnight in between as I gave up on dinner last night) they are still not soft. Are these safe to eat, even though they still have a bit of a nutty bite to them? If not, can I salvage?

Spencer Murphy


Lori T. April 4, 2019
Although acid can cause beans to toughen, it's also possible what you started with were simply old beans. The older a bean is, the more cook resistant it becomes. In some cases, no amount of cooking will truly soften them. Salt doesn't affect them in the same way at all. If you refrigerated the beans, there is one last ditch possibility. It will require you to remove the beans from the chili, rinse and cook them again, along with a good pinch of baking soda. If they soften, then you could add them back into the rest of the chili ingredients. This might help, but it might not- and it's a hassle. I'd recommend chucking this batch, and trying again with new beans. If you have options, try to pick a store with a fairly high turnover with them so you don't risk getting old beans again. I find that natural food stores like Whole Foods or the bulk bins in supermarkets are most likely to have fresher versions.
Ttrockwood April 4, 2019
They’re fine to eat, but might be a bit difficult to digest since they’re not fully cooked. Honesty i would cut my losses and start over, it’s beyond repair.
Corj April 3, 2019
I think unfortunately you'd better chuck it unless you are willing to experiment further by adding more liquid to your chili and bubbling it some more in case they do eventually soften. However, you're probably right that the salt/acid has inhibited this. Also I was curious if there was harm in eating undercooked beans and it turns out it's not a good idea because of the lecithin.
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