Canned red kidney beans refer to the beans which have been canned in brine or salt solution. Characterized by a strong flavor and a color that is reddish brown in nature, the red kidney bean is a versatile kidney shaped bean that can be used in a variety of hot and cold recipes. Kidney bean grown in many different locations, and is usually sold in dry or canned varieties. True to their name, these popular beans are kidney shaped and are especially good in simmered dishes where they absorb the flavors of seasonings and the other foods with which they are cooked.
One of the most popular uses for kidney beans is in the preparation of chilli. The deep red colour works well with the other ingredients of the dish, and adds excellent texture and taste. Along with chili, these canned red kidney beans are a welcome addition to many casseroles, both for the flavour and the dash of colour that the beans add to the presentation of the dish. Canned beans provide convenience when you are short of time or have forgotten to soak the beans a night before. Their only drawback is the salt content, but these beans can be used in combinations with other unsalted ingredients to reduce the salt taste.
How to select
While selecting the canned red kidney beans, look carefully at the nutritional labelling and the expiry date. Avoid selecting the cans which are bulging or dented (may cause food poisoning) or if the cans appear to be rusted or leaking.
· Add to vegetable soups, including the classic Italian minestrone; mix with tinned tuna, French beans, red onion, a little grated parmesan and dress with olive oil and lemon juice for a store cupboard salad; or stew with sage, garlic and tomatoes for a winter casserole
· Combine cooked kidney beans with black beans and white beans to make a colorful three bean salad. Mix with tomatoes and scallions and dress with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and black pepper.
· Serve cooked kidney beans over a piece of cornbread and top with grated cheese for a twist on the traditional tamale pie.
· In a food processor or blender, combine cooked red kidney beans with garlic, cumin and chili peppers for a delicious spread that can be used as a dip or sandwich filling.
· Make a pot of chili, the hearty Mexican soup that traditionally features red kidney beans.
· Make tacos with a vegetarian twist by using kidney beans in place of ground meat.
How to store
Red kidney beans are available in supermarkets in both dried and canned form. They can be purchased year round in most parts of the world. They should be evenly coloured and shiny, with a slight red or brown colour. As with most other beans, they should be stored in an airtight glass container in cool dark place to preserve them. Canned beans should be refrigerated after the can has been opened and used within 2-4 days.
· Unlike canned vegetables, which have lost much of their nutritional value, there is little difference in the nutritional value of canned kidney beans and those we cook yourself.
· Kidney beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fibre, as are most other beans. In addition to lowering cholesterol, kidney beans' high fibre content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycaemia
· Kidney beans, like other beans, are rich in soluble and insoluble fibre, folate , calcium and magnesium. They also trace amounts of iron and potassium.