Saturday, April 25, 2009

Beans from A-Z......

"What kind of beans are there?"
"I can only think of 2 or 3 types?"

I have heard this from several people. They only can think of possibly 3 types of beans. Below are different types of beans and how you might use them. This is not an exhaustive list, however, take a minute and be amazed at the variety that is available. Let's start with our first candidate...

Aduki Beans:

•A small, dark red bean that holds its color well when cooked, the Adzuki is sweet and easier to digest than most other beans.
•Adzuki beans are good for sprouting and popular in Asian cuisine because of their compatibility with rice.

Anasazi Beans

•1 cup of dried anasazi beans yields approximately 2 1/2 cups of cooked beans.
•Anasazi beans can be used in recipes calling for pinto beans.

Appaloosa Beans

•A hybrid bean from the American Southwest, its brownish-black and white markings resemble those of an Appaloosa pony.
• Their flavor is similar to the black bean, only more intense and earthy, and can be used as a substitute for black beans in chilli's and dips.
•Appaloosas can themselves be substituted with Black beans or Pinto beans.

Baby Lima Beans

•Flat-shaped, white-colored beans
•Smooth, creamy texture
•Popular as a side dish or added to soups and casseroles

Black Beans

•Medium-sized, black-skinned ovals
•Also called Turtle bean
•A favorite in South and Central American and Caribbean cuisine
•Cooking Time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours


•Medium-sized, oval-shaped, with black dot on white colored skin
•Distinct, savory flavor and light, smooth texture
•Also called black-eyed pea
•Popular in Southern cooking in recipes such as Hoppin' John, traditionally served in the South on New Year's Day to bring luck
•Cooking Time: 30 minutes to 1 hour

Garbanzo Beans
•Round, medium-sized, beige color
•Nut-like flavor and firm texture
•Also called chickpea
•Popular in soups and salads; main ingredient in Middle Eastern dishes hummus and falafel
•Cooking Time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours

Great Northern
•Medium-sized, white oval
•Belongs with the White bean or Haricot bean family
•Often used in soups, stews and Cassoulet
•Cooking Time: 45 to 60 minutes


Black Beluga, Brown, French Green, Petite Golden, Red
•All legumes are seeds that grow within pods. Lentils are shaped like a lens. In fact, lens is the Latin word for lentil. The size and appearance of lentils varies depending on the variety.
•Cook quickly, 1 ½ C liquid for each C. Cooking time: 30-45 minutes

Mung Beans

•Mung beans can range in color from greenish-brown to yellow to black and have a delicate sweet flavor.
•In China, Mung beans are used primarily for sprouts but are also ground into flour and used to make bean thread noodles.
•They need no pre-soaking, cook quickly, and are easier to digest than most other beans because they contain very low levels of oligosaccharides, the substance in beans that causes flatulence.

Navy Beans

•Small white ovals
•Belongs to the White bean or Haricot bean family
•Often used in baked beans, soups and salads
•Cooking Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours

Pink Beans

•Small, pale, pink-colored
•Turns reddish brown when cooked
•Often used in South American recipes and "Old West" recipes like chili
•Cooking Time: 1 hour

Pinto Beans

•Medium-sized, mottled beige and brown ovals
•When cooked, loses mottling and turns brown
•Staple in Latino cooking
•Often found, whole or refried, in favorites like burritos and tacos
•Cooking Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours

Red Kidney Beans

•Large, deep reddish-brown and kidney-shaped
•Famous in Red Beans and Rice
•Popular in chili, soups and salads
•Cooking Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours

  • Soybeans are the single most economically important bean in the world. They have the highest protein content and are an important oil seed.
    •They must be protected from oxygen if it is to be stored for a longer period than one year. As soybeans, by themselves have a flavor that not everyone can appreciate, they are rarely eaten by themselves but are made into other foods such as TVP, soy milk, tofu, tempeh, minse, soysauce, natto, sprouts and other foods.

Again, these are just a few types to try. Beans store well, and cooked beans can be used in place of oil to reduce the fat in baking and increase fiber. They can be ground and used as flour in breads etc, as well as to use to thicken sauces and soups. You can also sprout them if you store some without oxygen absorbers. More about sprouting later.

(Source: Dry Bean Council of America)

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