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Are store-bought dried red beans just dyed that color?

Posted by john__showme__usa 5/6 (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 12, 11 at 13:46

The pkg clearly says they aren't:

However, after sorting, rinsing & then soaking the beans for 18 hours the liquid I poured off was very reddish color and most of the beans had turned from a uniform darker red to a mixed blend of mostly much lighter colors:

Been on a dried bean cooking and canning binge lately. (just 3 kinds canned so far) Decided not to "muddy up" two excellent threads on beans and ask this question in a separate post.

The other threads I was referring to:

How to can garbanzo beans/chickpeas?

Canned dry beans and lost the liquid

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Are store-bought dried red beans just dyed that color?

No,that is natural color they turn when they are dried.

RE: Are store-bought dried red beans just dyed that color?

The quality, and specifically, the pH and type of minerals (or lack thereof) found in your tap water will affect the type of color change that happens to various vegetables during the cooking process. My tap water here is naturally very hard and alkaline, and it discolors many vegetables badly unless I acidify it with vinegar, lemon juice, or sour salt prior to cooking or soaking. Usually, I try to avoid boiling vegetables in tap water for this very reason, preferring instead to steam them in their own juices or just a bit of bottled distilled water.

You might find that you get somewhat better color retention in beans and other items if you add acid to the water. It won't completely stop the loss of color, because many of the plant pigments are naturally water soluble and will leach out, but it helps somewhat.

With beans, too, remember one other thing is playing out as you soak them -- they pick up water and expand quite a bit. As a result, the seed coat stretches out, diluting the pigmentation. It's kind of like writing on a balloon with a magic marker and then blowing it up -- the writing becomes more and more spread out and lighter in color the bigger the balloon gets. At least that is my take on it.

RE: Are store-bought dried red beans just dyed that color?

Thanks much for the answers! I knew someone here would know.

Quit cooking with and drinking tap water in the 80s & bought a Sears distiller. After retiring in early 90s I took courses by the DNR and Mo Conservation Dept to become a certified water quality monitor volunteer (lakes & streams) so have equipment to test for dissolved solids, pH etc. Wish I didn't have to even shower in city tap water. There are usually several "boil orders" issued a year around here because something has contaminated the public water system.

Ever pickle garlic and have it turn blue/greenish color? Ugly!

Practically grew up on Red Dye #2 and is why I was concerned about the beans. A dear cyber-friend recently sent me "The China Study" and I'll probably be making more dietary changes.

This forum continues to be the best on the internet!

RE: Are store-bought dried red beans just dyed that color?

before Rit came along, fabric dyes were made from things lilke this. I have a quilt made by my grandmother in the late 19th century while she was waiting for her future husband to get back from Texas where he'd gone to seek his fortune. He came back without the money, but she married him anyway.
The quilt has lovely vines and flowers appliques, mostly reds and greens and family lore is that the muslim from which the flowers and vines were cut had been dyed with roots and bark (maybe some red beans).

Maybe you could go into the natural dye business!

RE: Are store-bought dried red beans just dyed that color?

> "before Rit came along, fabric dyes were made from things lilke this."

I'll bet hot red peppers were used for dye too.


RE: Are store-bought dried red beans just dyed that color?

They might have used red peppers, but it's hard to know exactly what color dye they would have yielded. Obviously, we would all assume red. But, when my sister was into spinning and dyeing her own wool back in the 1970's and 1980's, I thought it was quite interesting how the colors of the finished product changed from the original color of the plant pigments -- it all depended upon many factors, and it could be manipulated to give different outcomes. Usually the outcomes were predictable, but sometimes things didn't work as planned and a different color came out of the vat. Very interesting.

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