Bugs in the Beans – Totally Gross!

A couple of weeks ago I decided to make “baked” beans and peach cobbler for my Saturday living history demonstration.  I make all our baked beans from scratch now that Tom and I are on a low sodium diet.  Canned baked beans have tons of salt!  We went to the grocery store and I bought two bags of dried pinto beans.  When we got home, I put the beans in a big container and filled it with water so the beans could soak overnight.  Immediately small black things floated to the top of the water.  There were bugs in the beans!

I tried to identify the bugs.  They are not bean weevils because they were completely black.  They looked like sawtoothed grain beetles except they aren’t listed as living in beans.  And they were completely black.  Several articles told me that if you saw the adult bugs, there were already eggs inside the beans.

Whatever they were – they were totally gross.  I swished the water around and more of them rose to the top.  They all seemed to be dead.  I had Tom look at them and we agreed there was no way we were cooking those beans.  Back to the grocery store we went (so thankful the grocery store is only five minutes away!).

I told the woman at the Customer Service counter about the bugs and gave her my receipt and the bag that had a bunch of the bugs in it.  She told us that we could pick out different bags of beans or get canned beans if we would prefer.  So we went back to the shelves of dried beans.

We picked up bag after bag of the pinto beans.  We thought we saw bugs in the beans in one of them.  But even though we didn’t see any bugs in the rest, I couldn’t bring myself to buy them.  Or any of the bags of beans close to them.  Or on the same shelf.  I could barely bring myself to touch the bags.

Finally we noticed the organic dried bean section.  It was on a different shelf a little separated from the rest of the dried beans.  They seemed to be bug free so we picked up two bags of organic dried pinto beans and headed back to Customer Service.  The very nice lady there refunded our money from the original beans and gave us the replacement beans free.  She also apologized for the inconvenience.

When we got home I put the beans in the container to soak (after washing the container three times).  Then I nervously watched for floating objects.  This time – no bugs in the beans!

The next day I cooked them over the fire.  Saturday evening all the volunteers got together for a potluck dinner with the baked beans – and my story about them – as the highlight.  Fortunately the beans were delicious and no one found any bugs in the beans.