When It Makes Sense To Skip Rinsing Canned Beans

All you have to do is read the label on a can of beans to find out it contains some things you might not want in your diet, such as high amounts of sodium. However, you can reduce much of the unhealthy stuff simply by rinsing canned beans before using them. According to Consumer Reports, in some instances, up to 40% of sodium can be shed by rinsing off canned beans. Additionally, rinsing removes some of the sugars that cause gas buildup in your gut. However, rinsing canned beans is not a task you always need to do. Sometimes, it even makes sense to skip this step.

One primary reason for skipping the rinsing is a no-brainer. If the recipe specifically calls for using undrained or un-rinsed canned beans, then you should not rinse the beans. Despite the belief of some home cooks, recipes are not a suggestion. Every step is there for a reason, and when you skip or modify recipes, you might achieve unexpected results that aren't always favorable. Therefore, if the recipe says not to rinse the beans, do not rinse your beans.

Other reasons to skip rinsing your canned beans

The velvety liquid in a can of beans is a mixture of water, salt (for preserving), and naturally occurring residue from beans. While much of that residue is composed of sugars and starches, rinsing a can of beans reduces its vitamin and mineral content. This is especially true when it comes to water-soluble folate and other B vitamins. However, the loss can be made up by adding some leafy green vegetables to your meal.

A much better reason for draining your beans is because the gooey juice is a great thickener. If you are making a dish that calls for viscosity, including the bean juice in your recipe is a good call. Some people even advocate saving that canned sauce to add to other dishes, such as stocks or broths.

Especially if you follow a vegan diet or are trying to create more vegan recipes, the liquid from certain canned beans has value. For example, the liquid in a can of chickpeas, called aquafaba, whips to a stiff yet fluffy foam that can be added to many recipes as an egg white substitute.