Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hazardous Beans

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of cooking with Senora Potters of Mexico Cooks! blog. She prepared some of the best frijoles refritos I've ever had. She used a long yellowish colored bean. Senora Potters told me to look in the Mexican mercados for this particular bean.

What does this have to do with this picture? Well I was passing a small tienda near the Ramirez Mercado and saw a long yellowish bean so I stopped. The beans were in this drum. I was getting ready to buy until I saw the label, Enviromentally Hazardous Substances. What in the world had been in this drum prior to it being used to store beans? Chemical engineer, Ned told me that it was a lined drum and if it had been properly cleaned it could be used safely. If it had been properly cleaned would that label still be pristine? Mmmm.....I didn't buy any of these beans.


Bob Mrotek said...


According to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)for the material code on the label this is what the barrel last contained:

Name: SOLGAD 200
CAS: 064742-94-5
Appearance: A clear colorless liquid with aromatic hydrocarbon odor insoluble in water.
Composition: C9-C15 Aromatic hydrocarbons
Primarily C10-C12
Naphthalene up to 14%w

Sounds nasty but I agree with Ned. if it is lined and they washed it out there should be no problem.

Babs said...

I wouldn't have either Billie. Better to be safe then sorry......My mother died from a crop duster in Az. accidently dropping his load over her car - she had health problems six months after that until she died almost ten years later from liver failure.....I'm skittish about chemicals.....always.

glorv1 said...

Well the good thing Billie is that your still okay. I'd be afraid to buy beans that have been stored in something hazardous as well. Have a Happy Easter you and yours. Take care.

Billie said...

Bob, thanks for the information. I looked up UN3082 and read several versions. All of them convinced me that I didn't want beans from this drum. Maybe it was washed properly but maybe it wasn't.

Babs and Gloria, thanks for your concern. Babs I'm sorry about your mother. I have an aunt who used DDT on her roses on a windy day (back in the day when you could use DDT) She become ill and just a few years later she had breast cancer. Back then the family didn't know for sure whether the cancer was related to the DDT but everyone believed it was.

Islagringo said...

Probably a very smart choice to leave the beans there. It does make one wonder though about the things we DON'T see!

Billie said...

Yes, Islagringo, it does, it does.

Rooster said...

This is "one of those things" about Mexico... you just never can be so sure. Without the ease of lawsuits like in the US, and no OSHA standards, small business people have so little oversight and are not held to high standards. In many ways that's great for all, but in others it's scary!!!

Mexico Cooks! said...

Geez, Billie, why did you think those frijolitos refritos were so good? They came right out of that barrel! And we ate them during the afternoon, so you couldn't tell that at night they glow in the dark!

Just kidding, I promise. You did the right thing to leave the beans in the barrel. You'll probably find the peruanos at the Tuesday market.

Best to you and Ned!

Alfredo said...

¡G√ľau Billie! It is ignorance to the english language I guess. Did you say anything? Sometimes it is truly truthful ignorance what prompt people to do things they would not normally do. Their beans would had been store so much better in their hand woven baskets. Will look better too and cooked, will be delicious. Did you buy "frijol peruano" somewhere else? I guess is good to see where they are stored...In Guanajuato state you can find also, "flor de junio", "rosa de castilla", "flor de mayo", "morado", "higuerillo", "garbancillo". Most of them local beans, all delicious. Not widely distributed either.

Billie said...

Cristina, we are going on Tuesday and I'll look for them. Hey, also take a look at Alfredo's comments. What do you know about the other beans he mentions?

Alfredo, I haven't bought the Peruano yet but I will. And yes they would look better stored in baskets. I'll be looking for the other beans you mention. Any hint on preparation? We had a wonderful garbanzo bean salad in Valle de Bravo that I have been wanting to try to make.

One of the things that I have missed...even in Texas is fresh pinto beans. I use to be able to buy a bushel or two at the Farmer's market in Houston. I'd shell them,blanch them and then freeze them to be used during the year. For the last few years Farmer's Market hasn't gotten any of the fresh ones in. They are so different from the dried beans. Just delicious but in a different way. Do you ever get any of the beans you mentioned while they are still fresh in the shell?

pitchertaker said...

Of course, buy them displayed in a nice hand-woven basket, but the bulk storage out back of the tienda is still in one of these blue drums.....ya' know?

Alfredo said...

My family always cooks them with of course, lots of water until they are soft and if you blow a bit on them, the bean will peel off the tender cooked skin. At that point, salt is added. Normally, we do not make a "special" meal with them like gringos often try to do. You can then used them like that "de la olla" or fry them. "frijoles fritos" and then a day later, refried them, "frijoles refritos". We use lard until a bit of smoke comes out of it, that is the cooked lard otherwise it will taste raw. Most of the time, we use them with a variety of salsas and they are eaten at the end of the meal. After you ate your soup and your main meal. Chile guajillo is good with them. Duras (not fried tostadas) are excellent too. Duras are just the left over tortillas that become hard = dura and then toasted over coal or over a comal, usually a soft flame until they look golden brown, much better for your health. Add refried beans, queso fresco, chopped lettuce, and sauce, very tasty at night. Beans are eaten a lot for lunch too. In a "gordita", with "gallo de joconostle", etc. Buen provecho.

Calypso said...

Not buying beans stored in a spent hazardous waste bin at any cost - just doesn't make sense to me.