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When soaking pulses for long periods, is refrigeration required?

Specifically: I have a large volume of dried red kidney beans I will be cooking with tomorrow. The refrigerator is already filled with other ingredients (mostly meat). Is it safe to leave the beans out on the side to soak (ambient temperature +19C) or should I be looking more refrigerator space?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I eat a lot of beans. I typically boil them for a minute and just let them sit on the stove. That way they soak more evenly and don't sprout. Ideal breeding conditions. I've noticed that in rare cases, when it is really hot (25 C), they start to ferment a bit after half a day or so and the water gets foamy. From my empirical evidence this happens about 1 out of 30 times and I just change the water and boil them again.

One point to keep in mind is that sprouts are a very common vector for food borne pathogens and have caused many deaths. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10511518 These cases were always caused by external contamination, and not by the product itself going bad. Either the seeds got contaminated by nearby agriculture, or the water used in the sprouting process wasn't clean.

So you should not be concerned by your pulses going bad, they would sprout or ferment, but by bacteria from the nearby CAFO sticking to them. One more reason to boil them first.

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