Children’s Games for After TEOTWAWKI

After TEOTWAWKI it will be interesting to see how children function without their electronic toys and the one eyed monster the TV.  The following is a list of some children’s games with instructions children's gamesthat  you might find useful.  These came from the New York Folk Law Society

Sack Race. Each participant steps into a burlap bag (purchased from a farm store), then hops from the starting line to a line forty feet away, then hops back as fast as possible.

Three-Legged Race. Ties (used men’s neckties, for example) are fastened around the opposite ankles or knees of participants, giving each pair of children three legs to run the race.

Wheelbarrow Race. One contestant picks up the ankles of another, who walks on her hands to the line. The contestants change places and race back to the starting line.

Hoop Trundling. The child propels a wooden hoop using a one-foot dowel or stick by stroking it along the top.

Run around the Hoop. The child sets the hoop spinning, then tries to see how many times he can run around the hoop before it falls down. Another hoop game is to use the hoop as a hula hoop, rotating it around the waist.

Hoop Races. A chalk trail passes through narrow spaces, such as two stones. Rolling hoops, contestants follow the trail between the gates all around the course back to the starting point.

Potato Race. Potatoes are placed in buckets at the starting line, and children work in teams of two. Each child grabs a potato from her bucket and runs eight feet to a marked spot, deposits the potato, runs back for another potato, leaves it at a marked spot farther on, and so forth. Her partner runs to the first potato and brings it back to the bucket, then returns for another until all the potatoes are gathered.

Potato Spoon Race. Each child balances a potato on the bowl of a long iced-tea spoon, then runs to a line and back without dropping it. Variation: The children place the potatoes at designated spots and then retrieve them, as in a potato race.

Statue. One child grasps the hands of another and gently swings him around before depositing him gently on the grass. The contestant tries to assume a ridiculous posture as he falls—limbs askew, head cocked, tongue hanging out. After all the players are “statues,” the swinger decides the winner, who then serves as the person who swings the players in the next round.

Rock Tag. Players choose a rock or stone to touch or stand on; one child, “It,” has no base. At a given signal, all children leave their bases and go to another—one child to a base. If “It” can catch a runner between bases, that child becomes “It.”

Shadow Tag. For small children: On a sunny day children try to step on each other’s shadows.

Fox and Geese, single rim. A wagonwheel design is tramped in the snow or drawn in chalk. The Fox stands at the center and the other children, the Geese, around the edge. At a signal, the Fox tries to catch the Geese, who can run only along the spokes or the rim of the wheel. The one who is caught then becomes the Fox.

Fox and Geese, double rim. The version of Fox and Geese involves an additional rim halfway up the spokes.

Hunt the Fox. The wagonwheel is set up as in Fox and Geese, but in this game the roles are reversed: The Fox at the center is chased by the others, the Hunters.

Leapfrog. Children form a line, with each child leaning over on hands and knees. The child at one end leaps over the next child’s back, legs spread apart, then over all the others. At the other end she becomes an additional Frog, to be leapt over by the next player.

Leap and Crawl. The leapfrog line is formed as above. Players leap over one Frog, then crawl between the legs of the next, leap over the third, etc.

Duck on the Rock. This game was originally played with rocks in a dirt road. An object several inches high is placed at a distance. On this is balanced one player’s beanbag, the Duck. Players stand back of the line and toss their beanbags at the Duck to knock it off. When it falls, all the players who have tossed run to retrieve their beanbags before the Duck’s owner can replace her beanbag on the Rock and tag another player.

Beanbag Toss. Players toss beanbags at a distance through a hole in a wood panel. The game can be played using several holes, each with a numerical value; players compete to reach the score of 21.

Game of Graces. Two players with two-foot wands toss a beribboned ten-inch wooden hoop back and forth, trying to catch it in the X of their crossed wands. The wands are drawn rapidly apart to propel the hoop back to the other player.

Jump Rope. A familiar game even today—for a single child or, with a longer rope, three or more.

Quoits. Make quoit rings from half-inch manila rope, fastening the ends with masking tape, and construct a box with upright dowels of various lengths, or hammer the dowels into the ground for a quoit field. Players stand at a distance and try to throw the rings over the dowels.

Hopscotch. The player throws a marker onto a numbered square, hops to retrieve it, then throws it to the next square in the sequence. Many variations are available on the Internet. A prepared mat can be used, or a hopscotch field can be drawn in chalk.

Spinning Top. Tops come in many varieties: to be twirled with the fingers, for example, or to be wound with string, the string pulled, and the top thrown on the ground, still spinning. Other tops can be set in motion with the fingers, then kept going by whipping the sides with a leather thong attached to a short stick.

Stilts. This age-old balancing act can be done with stilts to suit the child. Wooden blocks are fastened ten to twenty inches from the ground on long poles. For young children, use pairs of No. 10 cans: Punch holes in the ends of the can and run a length of rope through it for the child to hold on to.

Jacob’s Ladder. Six small blocks are fastened together with sets of ribbon so that the blocks can appear to tumble as a child tilts the top block back and forth. This illusion can be bought ready-made.

Jacks. A dozen metal jacks are dropped on the floor. A ball is bounced and the child tries to pick up as many jacks as possible before the ball hits the floor again.

Marbles. Clay or glass marbles are propelled by the thumb toward other marbles in a circle or pit. The player keeps the marbles she can knock out of the ring. There are many variations—ask your grandfather!

Hummers. Take a four-hole button and run a string or carpet-weight thread through two opposite holes; fasten the ends together. Holding the string so that the button is in the middle, swing the button around and around, then pull the string loops so that the button revolves first one way, then the other. After a rhythm has been established, pulling the string harder each time will make some buttons hum.

Tower Puzzle. The Tower of Hanoi is a relative newcomer. Six or more graduated disks are placed over one of three spindles fixed to a strip of wood. The object is to move all the disks to another spindle, moving one at a time, without ever placing a larger disk over a smaller one. There is much about the Tower of Hanoi on the Internet.

Ball and Cup. In this centuries-old game, a small ball is affixed to a string on a short stick, at the top of which is a cup. The player tosses the ball up and attempts catch it in the cup. A variation on this is the bilbo stick: The stick is pointed and the ball has a small hole.

Mumblety-Peg. The point of a penknife is flipped up and into the ground with the front, then the back of the hand. The point is next placed on the wrist, elbow, shoulder, and head, then back down to the hand. If a player can flip the knife successfully each time, so that it always sticks in the ground, he then makes the knife “jump the fence” of the palm and stick in the ground. (We did not play this game.)

Gee-Haw Whimmy-Diddle. This southern game derives its name from oxen-driving terms: “Gee” is left and “haw” is right. Using a file, cut a series of notches in a short stick, and insert a small propeller in the end of the stick so that it moves freely. Vigorously rubbing a squared stick along the notches makes the propeller spin. Rubbing the thumb along the stick helps make the propeller reverse direction.

Feather Game. Sit small children in a circle and release a small chicken feather (check your bedroom pillows). The object is to keep the feather in the air by blowing up on it.

Horseshoes. Two stakes and rubber or metal horseshoes are needed. Consult rulebooks or the Internet for scoring of leaners and ringers.

Bob for Apples (wet). Fill a dishpan close to the top with warm water, add a dozen washed, small apples, and place it on a bench. Players try to bite an apple—no hands! Once a player bites an apple, it’s his. Have towels handy to dry off the children!

Bob for Apples (dry). Suspend small apples by string from a branch or pole so that the apples hang at varying heights. Rules are as for wet bobbing: No hands, and the apple a player bites is hers.

Balance Game. Take a round piece of wood four to six inches in diameter and about twenty-four inches long. Place an eight- or ten-inch board across this pole and try to balance on it, like a lumberjack.

I can remember playing some of these children’s games as a child.  Most of the items needed to play these children’s games can be improvised.  You may want to show them some of these games now and get them outside.

Howard

 

 

28 ways to avoid being the victim of burglars

The most common burglar is a young man who lives within a two miles of you.  This type of burglar is the easiest to stop.  They are normally not very experienced and highly skilled.  However, there are still many experienced burglars that may target your home.  But by taking some simple precautions, you can minimize your chances of be burglarized.

burglar

Start by simply walking around the exterior of your home and ask yourself, how would I break in.  Often you will see obvious routes of entry.  When I talk to people about this problem they often have that attitude that if someone wants in, they are going to get and there is nothing I can do.  Nothing is further from the truth,  the average burglar is scared to break glass and make a lot of noise.

Ask yourself the following question as you look around your home.

  1. Do you keep a hidden house key outside the house where it can be found?  Burglars know where to look.
  2. Is your home well lighted with particular attention to exterior doors?  Are your lights on timers, photocells or motion detectors?
  3. Can your main entrance be seen from the street?  Hidden doors are often easy access points for burglars.
  4. Are your exterior doors at least 1-3/4 inch solid core, properly hung and are the locks correctly installed?
  5. Do all your exterior doors have heavy-duty dead bolts and reinforced door frames?  A solid door with a weak frame is easy to kick in.
  6. Does the door from the attached garage leading to the house have a dead bolt and is it kept locked when you are not home?  Use the Zombie Bar to Secure Your Doors Against Burglaries and Home Invasions  
  7. Can anyone gain easy access through a mail slot, dryer vent, or pet entrance?  This includes small children.
  8. If doors have glass panels or windows, can someone break the glass reach in and unlock the door.
  9. Are all trees and shrubs pruned and well maintained to prevent anyone from hiding unseen?  Plants with thorns or sharp points can be planted under windows that are hidden or otherwise vulnerable.
  10. Do any trees, down pipes, or latticework provide easy access to upper floors?
  11. Are any ladders or tools kept outside in your yard that will assist any potential burglar?
  12. Have all your sliding glass doors been protected to prevent them being lifted out from their frames?
  13. Are all exterior lights and security devices in good working order?
  14. Does your overhead garage door have a working electronic door opener?  If so see the following post.  Securing your garage doors can Prevent Your Home from Being Burglarized  http://preparednessadvice.com/security/securing-garage-doors-can-prevent-home-burglarized/#.VDt6hfldUZw
  15. Does your overhead garage door have any loose, broken or missing door panels or hardware?
  16. Do you keep the overhead doors closed, and your car locked inside the garage?
  17. Do all windows have reinforced locking devices that can be secured in the open position?
  18. Do ground level windows have guards or grates?
  19. Are basement windows protected by grates or security devices?
  20. All irreplaceable items should be kept in high quality fire resistant safe or in off-site safety deposit box?
  21. Do you have a current video tape or pictures of all your valuables?  Is there a copy kept off-site?
  22. Always be observant of your surroundings and trust your instincts.  If you suspect something is wrong, it probably is.
  23. Become friends with your neighbors familiarize yourself with their schedules.  Watching out for one another is an effective ways of preventing crime.
  24. Park your car in well-lit areas or in the garage.
  25. Investing in an alarm system, deadbolt locks, exterior lights and surveillance cameras can save you a lot of grief.  A fire alarm system once saved my home.
  26. Don’t let people in your home that you do not know, ask for ID from repairmen.
  27. If you can, set up video cameras around the exterior of your home.  These systems have become quite inexpensive.  Just be sure they are rated for exterior use and have night vision capabilities.
  28. Don’t advertise that you have preps, precious metals, gun collection of other valuables.  In other words don’t make yourself a target.

None of these ideas will prevent someone with enough determination from breaking in.  What they will do is force them to make noise that can alert you or your neighbors.  Most burglars don’t want to attract this type of attention and will go to an easier target.

Howard

 

A Food Storage Failure

food storage failuresoybeansThe other day a friend dropped a five-gallon bucket of organic soybeans off at my house.  The container was dated as being sealed 1/24/84.  In other words, these soybeans are over 30 years old.  Now being that old does not automatically make this a food storage failure.

As soon as I took a good look at the bucket, I knew there was a problem.  The bucket had a label on it showing that it had held dryvit Quarzputz finish.  This is a product that is still manufactured and is a 100% acrylic based coating that is used for wall coverings.

food storage failureA couple of minute’s research on the inernet found the material safety data sheet on this product, which states the following.  “If ingested, product may cause irritation of mouth, throat, stomach, and digestive and central nervous systems; signs and symptoms may include headache, drowsiness, dizziness, swelling, abdominal discomfort, and/or burning sensation”.

Now in 1984 Mylar bags were not available, so when I opened the bucket I was not surprised that the beans had been placed directly into the bucket.  The bucket appeared to have been well cleaned prior to putting in the beans.  But there is no way I am going to eat these.

However, my curiosity got the best of me so I have a few of the beans sitting in the kitchen getting soaked, as I am going to see if they will still sprout.  I will let you know if they do.

As you can see, there are a couple of food storage failures here.  First, they didn’t use food grade buckets (Food Grade Containers and Why You Should Use Them)  that had only contained food.  Second, since this was packed so many years ago without the use of Mylar bags, the beans should have been rotated years ago.  Sealing Food in 5 Gallon Buckets   

There is no way I will use these beans; the age does not bother me, but the chemicals do.

Howard

How do You Carry Your Prepping Information in a Bug Out?

prepping informationOne problem with the idea of bugging out is that I have this nice library of prepping information.  Now it is in books and three ring binders and takes a lot of space.  Now I have downloaded a lot of this information onto a thumb drive which I keep with my everyday carry.

Thumb drives are small, inexpensive and hold a lot of  prepping information.  The downside of a thumb drive is that you need a computer to access the information.  Recently I was given a Kindle as a gift and have been pleasantly surprised at how useful it has become.  I have downloaded quite a few free books on to it and am adding more information all the time.

Now a kindle is fairly small and can hold a tremendous amount of prepping information.  The problem with a kindle is that it requires electric power to operate.  Now this turned out to be an easy problem to solve since I always carry either a Goal Zero Nomad 7 or a Sunjack in my bug out bag.  Either of these is capable of charging a Kindle as well as charging batteries and other camp chores.

A tablet such as the Ipad will also work and be able to read the thumb drive, but in the past there have been problems with using small solar chargers to charge them.  If you decide to go the tablet route, verify that it will work with available small solar chargers.

So now with a thumb drive in my pocket and a Kindle with me, I have a good store of prepping information that I should be able to access.  This has turned out to be surprise for me; I never thought that I would be recommending a Kindle to use for prepping.

Howard

 

Salt, What Type Should You Store?

saltUntil I was asked a question about the different types of salt that are available, I had no idea there were so many types.  Since then I have done some research on the varies types and how they are best used.

Iodized table salt is the most common.  This is the typical Morton Salt that most of us have in our saltshakers at home.  The reason it’s called “iodized” is that today, most salt manufacturers fortify the salt with iodine.  Iodine deficiency causes thyroid gland problems, including “endemic goiter”.  In many countries, iodine deficiency is a major public health problem. Unless you have an alternative source of iodine such as kelp, I recommend that you stock iodized salt.

Rock Salt is normally used for making ice cream and deicing sidewalks.  Because of the methods that are used to mine rock salt from the ground, rock salt is not sold for use directly on food.  It is usually sold in large chunky crystals that would need to be ground before it would look like table salt.

Pickling or Canning Salt is normally used for canning, brining pickles and fermenting foods.  Like table salt, pickling salt may come from the earth or the sea.  However,  unlike table salt, pickling salt does not contain anti-caking ingredients or iodine, which can turn pickles cloudy, or dark. In addition, fine granules make pickling salt easy to dissolve in a brine.  Pickling salt is 100 percent sodium chloride and the purest of salts.  What Type of Salt Should You Store for Brining?

Sea Salt is salt produced from the evaporation of seawater.  Many people claim that because of the increased mineral content that using sea salt is healthier.  In addition, some people say that sea salt tastes better.  Personally, I can’t tell the difference in taste, but I can tell the difference in price.  Sea Salt can cost $2 to $15 a pound.

There are many other specialty salts on the market, but for our purposes, I recommend that you stay with table salt and pickling or canning salt.  These are by far the most cost effective.  Now I know that some of you are strong believers in sea salt and are willing to spend the extra cash to purchase it.  I still suggest that you get some cheaper salts for preserving food and trade.  Salt is inexpensive and I think that you should store up to a 100 lbs per person.

Howard

 

The Problems of Bugging Out and Freeways

problems of bugging outThis morning I have been thinking about traffic jams and the problems of bugging out, because of an incident that happened yesterday.  There was another large wildfire about 15 miles from where I live.  It started alongside the freeway in several different locations over a two or three mile stretch.  At that time, I was traveling from my son business to my home and could see the smoke up the freeway.  So having family and friends living in that direction, I decided to drive up the freeway to see exactly where the fire was located.

At the time I did not have a radio scanner with me and had no good information other than, I could see a very large column of smoke.  So happily up the freeway I go.  The traffic is moving along at a normal rate, until suddenly it comes to a screeching halt.  Now here I sit stuck on the freeway between off ramps in a hug traffic jam.

Now I know this area fairly well and there were other routes I could have taken.  In fact, where I am sitting I can see the frontage road that is about 50 feet away with no traffic on it.  I ended up sitting in this jam for not quite two hours before we traveled the approximately three miles to the next exit.

While sitting there I am thinking of how I can get to the frontage road, I saw one spot that I may have been able to access it, but I would need something to cut the chain link and then four wheel drive to get up the bank.  With the stuff in my car, I probably could have done this in a real emergency.

This whole situation got me to thinking about the problems of bugging out.  Now I had a good vehicle, plenty of fuel, food and water and knowledge of the area.  Yet here I sit stuck in traffic, because of mistakes that I made.

Number one if I had a scanner with me I would have known that the freeway was being blocked and could have turned off before I was stuck.  Number two, I could have used one of the alternate routes right from the beginning.  Number three, if I had gathered a little intelligence beforehand I would have known which side of the freeway it was on and that none of mine were involved.  How Do I Know When to Bug out?

Now this was just normal freeway traffic in a relatively rural area.  There was no evacuation or panic affecting the traffic.  This traffic jam was just normal Wednesday afternoon traffic combined with a wildfire.

Sitting there thinking about the situation, I decided that in the future, I would go to side roads as a first choice of routes.  The problems with freeways are that if you are stuck in traffic you have very limited options.  If I had been on an alternate route, I would have had more options and no problems. Unless you have very good information that a freeway is open, I would recommend avoiding them in an emergency.

Even without panic caused by a serious emergency, the freeway rapidly because jammed.  The highway patrol were doing their best to keep traffic moving.   Now imagine the problems of bugging out if there was panic and no highway patrol.  People running out of gas, cars breaking down and traffic accidents.  I have no doubt that I would have had to abandon my vehicle and proceeded on foot.  News reports say that the fire was started by people who were seen throwing burning paper from a car.

Howard

 

Using Butter Powder and Other Long Term Storage Foods

butter powderOne thing that I have found is that many people are storing lots of long-term storage food and never trying them.  A good example is butter powder.  Everybody assumes that it will taste like normal butter.  Well the truth is that there are some tricks to using it and the taste is not always exactly the same.  For instance, butter powder is unsalted.

The butter powder we use and how to mix it.

 Here is a video showing the way we mix our butter powder.

Baking with butter powder

Powder butter can be used to replace butter in a 1-1 ratio in most baking recipes.  If you have a recipe that calls for 1/4 cup of butter, you would substitute 1/4 cup of powder butter and 1/4 cup of water.  You do not need to mix them together first.  It works best to mix the butter powder in with the dry ingredients, and the water in with the wet ingredients in your recipe.

Will My Recipes taste the same?

Probably not powdered butter tends to make things turn out a little lighter and fluffier.  You need to try the brand of butter powder you are purchasing to make sure you like it and learn how best to use it.

Can I spread butter powder on bread? 

Yes, but you may want to vary the mixture slightly to get a consistence that you like.  Adding a small amount of salt may make it taste more like fresh butter.

Can I Use Powdered Butter to Fry Foods?

No, powder butter will not melt like regular butter so it will not work in recipes calling for melted butter to fry your foods.

Whatever foods you are storing you need to try them now and make sure, they work for you.  Different brands vary in storage life and taste.  Every brand has a few tricks that improve their taste.  Whether it is butter powder or some other food, if you are storing it you need to try it.

Howard

Desiccant Packs, What They are and Why You Need Them

Desiccant Packs

The desiccant packs that come with many electronic items

I live in a fairly dry climate and have not had problems with preps rusting from the humidity.  However, I know that it is a big problem in parts of this country that are subject to high humidity, so I thought that I would write about the use of desiccant packs and how to use them.

As an oxygen absorber is to air, a desiccant is to moisture.  A desiccant pack will draw moisture from the air the same as an oxygen absorber will draw the oxygen from the air.  Desiccant packs are used all the time in electronics and can often be found at any store that sells electronics.

Most of them contain silica gel which is dry and looks like white sand.  It’s commonly used for drying flowers, so you can find it at most craft stores in the floral department.  Put an amount of silica gel in a clean fabric bag appropriate to the size space you are protecting, and tie up the opening as tight as possible so no gel escapes.  Now place your desiccant anywhere you want to absorb moisture.  Understand that the desiccant packs will only absorb so much moisture.  They are best used when placed in small confined areas.

Desiccant Packs

Homemade desiccant packs

Most desiccant packs are reusable.  As desiccants absorb moisture, they stop being as effective.  But you don’t have to throw them out; they just need to be dried out.  Leave the desiccant packet out in bright sunlight for a day and it will be ready to use again.  They can also be dried out in an oven. Dump the silica gel out onto a cookie sheet and bake at a very low temperature for 2-5 hours.

Many kitty liter type products can be used, such as Tidy Cat and Fresh Step Crystals, look for ones that mention “crystal litter.  In a pinch, rice can be used as a desiccant.  Calcium Chloride is an good desiccant, but I suggest that you avoid using it because it can be a health hazard under certain conditions and can damage some materials.

Depending on the area in which you live and how high the humidity is, you may want to consider placing desiccant packs in any preps that you seal into airtight containers that can be damaged by moisture.  In addition to rust, they can prevent mold and mildew. They can be included with clothing,  metal items and possibly dry grains.  Personally, I would try to keep the desiccants from coming into direct contact with foods.  If you are putting together any caches, you may want to consider adding desiccant packs.  They are also a good addition to gun safes, but you should check them periodically to make sure they are still functional.

Howard

Preppers Need to Think About Recycling Bad Ideas

Recycling Bad Ideas

The Notox Water Filters

About 30 years or so ago a company named Notox put out a water filter that consisted of a funnel made of a “Unique Charcoal Filled Paper”, needless to say it was a bad idea and useless.  However, they sold a lot of them and they ended up in many preppers supplies.  Some people may still even believe they work.  Now me, I like recycling bad ideas.

The other day an old friend gave me a couple of hundred of them.  My first thought was to throw them away and then I got to thinking about recycling bad ideas.  Now there is a stream right across the street from my house and most of the time it looks pretty clear, but lately with the drought, it has been looking a bit gunky.  I played with them and found that they made good pre-filters.  They do a good job of taking out the bigger chunks that will clog my more expensive filters.

Every time someone wants to get rid of some old food, I take it.  One reason is to check on its shelf live.  The second is that it can be good animal feed.  Dog and pigs systems are different from ours and they can eat rancid food without any ill effects.  The food is usually being gotten rid of for one of three reasons.  One they purchased from a less than reputable company.  Two they stored it incorrectly, normally in a hot area.  Three they did not rotate their food and even the best foods will go bad eventually.  Their mistakes have often been my gain.

Now these are just a couple of example, any prepper who has been doing this for very long will make mistakes.  My idea is we need to think about recycling bad ideas.  Re-purposing somebody else’s bad ideas can save you money. Most things can be used for an alternate purpose if we just take the time to look for that use.  I have scored big on this several times.

Howard

Kidney Beans can Poison You and Make you Sick

kidney beansNow that headline is slightly misleading in that it should say raw kidney beans can make you sick.  Kidney beans contain the toxic compound phytohaemagglutinin, a lectin.  This compound is actually present in many varieties of common bean but is especially concentrated in red kidney beans. The good news is that it won’t kill you but phytohaemagglutinin poisoning will cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The onset is from one to three hours after consumption of improperly prepared beans, and the symptoms will last for a few hours.  Eating as few as four or five raw kidney beans may be sufficient to trigger symptoms in some people.  Phytohaemagglutinin is deactivated by cooking beans at 212 °F for ten minutes.  However, for dry beans the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also recommends an initial soak of at least 5 hours in water; the soaking water should be discarded.

The ten minutes at 212 °F that is required to destroy the toxin is much shorter than the time required to fully cook the beans.   However, lower cooking temperatures may have opposite effects of concentrating the toxic effect of haemagglutinin.  Beans cooked at lower temperatures without being boiled for 10 minutes are reported to be up to five times as toxic as raw beans.  Outbreaks of poisoning have been associated with the use of slow cookers, the low cooking temperatures of which may be unable to degrade the toxin.

Now I know this is not a common problem today, most kidney beans come from a can.  Even if you got sick, you may not tie it to the beans.  However, in bad times, you can’t afford to be sick, and worst if you thought the beans were making you sick and didn’t know why, you might throw them away.

The following is what US food and drug administration has to say on this problem.

1. Name of the Organism:

Phytohaemagglutinin (Kidney Bean Lectin)

This compound, a lectin or hemagglutinin, has been used by immunologists for years to trigger DNA synthesis in T  lymphocytes, and more recently, to activate latent human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1, AIDS virus) from human peripheral lymphocytes. Besides inducing mitosis, lectins are known for their ability to agglutinate many mammalian red blood cell types, alter cell membrane transport systems, alter cell permeability to proteins, and generally interfere with cellular metabolism.

2. Nature of Acute Disease:

Red Kidney Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) Poisoning, Kinkoti Bean Poisoning, and possibly other names.

3. Nature of Disease:

The onset time from consumption of raw or undercooked kidney beans to symptoms varies from between 1 to 3 hours. Onset is usually marked by extreme nausea, followed by vomiting, which may be very severe. Diarrhea develops somewhat later (from one to a few hours), and some persons report abdominal pain. Some persons have been hospitalized, but recovery is usually rapid (3 – 4 h after onset of symptoms) and spontaneous.

4. Diagnosis of Human Illness:

Diagnosis is made on the basis of symptoms, food history, and the exclusion of other rapid onset food poisoning agents (e.g., Bacillus cereusStaphylococcus aureus, arsenic, mercury, lead, and cyanide).

5. Associated Foods:

Phytohaemagglutinin, the presumed toxic agent, is found in many species of beans, but it is in highest concentration in red kidney beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). The unit of toxin measure is the hemagglutinating unit (hau). Raw kidney beans contain from 20,000 to 70,000 hau, while fully cooked beans contain from 200 to 400 hau. White kidney beans, another variety of Phaseolus vulgaris, contain about one-third the amount of toxin as the red variety; broad beans (Vicia faba) contain 5 to 10% the amount that red kidney beans contain.

The syndrome is usually caused by the ingestion of raw, soaked kidney beans, either alone or in salads or casseroles. As few as four or five raw beans can trigger symptoms. Several outbreaks have been associated with “slow cookers” or crock pots, or in casseroles which had not reached a high enough internal temperature to destroy the glycoprotein lectin. It has been shown that heating to 80°C may potentiate the toxicity five-fold, so that these beans are more toxic than if eaten raw. In studies of casseroles cooked in slow cookers, internal temperatures often did not exceed 75°C.

6. Relative Frequency of Disease:

This syndrome has occurred in the United Kingdom with some regularity. Seven outbreaks occurred in the U.K. between 1976 and 1979 and were reviewed (Noah et al. 1980. Br. Med. J. 19 July, 236-7). Two more incidents were reported by Public Health Laboratory Services (PHLS), Colindale, U.K. in the summer of 1988. Reports of this syndrome in the United States are anecdotal and have not been formally published.

7. Course of Disease and Complications:

The disease course is rapid. All symptoms usually resolve within several hours of onset. Vomiting is usually described as profuse, and the severity of symptoms is directly related to the dose of toxin (number of raw beans ingested). Hospitalization has occasionally resulted, and intravenous fluids may have to be administered. Although of short duration, the symptoms are extremely debilitating.

8. Target Populations:

All persons, regardless of age or gender, appear to be equally susceptible; the severity is related only to the dose ingested. In the seven outbreaks mentioned above, the attack rate was 100%.

9. Food Analysis:

The difficulty in food analysis is that this syndrome is not well known in the medical community. Other possible causes must be eliminated, such as Bacillus cereusstaphylococcal food poisoning, or chemical toxicity. If beans are a component of the suspected meal, analysis is quite simple, and based on hemagglutination of red blood cells (hau).

This is something that I have not known and this information may keep me from throwing good food out.

Howard