Common bean
Overview
 
Phaseolus vulgaris, the common bean, is an herb
Herb
Except in botanical usage, an herb is "any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavoring, food, medicine, or perfume" or "a part of such a plant as used in cooking"...

aceous annual plant
Annual plant
An annual plant is a plant that usually germinates, flowers, and dies in a year or season. True annuals will only live longer than a year if they are prevented from setting seed...

 domesticated independently in ancient Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica is a region and culture area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and...

 and the Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

, and now grown worldwide for its edible bean
Bean
Bean is a common name for large plant seeds of several genera of the family Fabaceae used for human food or animal feed....

, popular both dry and as a green bean
Green bean
Green beans , also known as French beans , are the unripe fruit of any kind of bean, including the yardlong bean, the hyacinth bean, the winged bean, and especially the common bean , whose pods are also usually called string beans in the northeastern and western United States, but can also be...

. The leaf
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

 is occasionally used as a leaf vegetable
Leaf vegetable
Leaf vegetables, also called potherbs, green vegetables, greens, leafy greens or salad greens, are plant leaves eaten as a vegetable, sometimes accompanied by tender petioles and shoots...

, and the straw
Straw
Straw is an agricultural by-product, the dry stalks of cereal plants, after the grain and chaff have been removed. Straw makes up about half of the yield of cereal crops such as barley, oats, rice, rye and wheat. It has many uses, including fuel, livestock bedding and fodder, thatching and...

 is used for fodder
Fodder
Fodder or animal feed is any agricultural foodstuff used specifically to feed domesticated livestock such as cattle, goats, sheep, horses, chickens and pigs. Most animal feed is from plants but some is of animal origin...

. Beans, squash
Squash (fruit)
Squashes generally refer to four species of the genus Cucurbita, also called marrows depending on variety or the nationality of the speaker...

 and maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

 constituted the "Three Sisters"
Three Sisters (agriculture)
The Three Sisters are the three main agricultural crops of various Native American groups in North America: squash, maize, and climbing beans ....

 that provided the foundation of Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 agriculture.

Botanically
Botany
Botany, plant science, or plant biology is a branch of biology that involves the scientific study of plant life. Traditionally, botany also included the study of fungi, algae and viruses...

, the common bean is classified as a dicotyledon
Dicotyledon
The dicotyledons, also known as dicots, are a group of flowering plants whose seed typically has two embryonic leaves or cotyledons. There are around 199,350 species within this group...

.
Encyclopedia
Phaseolus vulgaris, the common bean, is an herb
Herb
Except in botanical usage, an herb is "any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavoring, food, medicine, or perfume" or "a part of such a plant as used in cooking"...

aceous annual plant
Annual plant
An annual plant is a plant that usually germinates, flowers, and dies in a year or season. True annuals will only live longer than a year if they are prevented from setting seed...

 domesticated independently in ancient Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica
Mesoamerica is a region and culture area in the Americas, extending approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, within which a number of pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and...

 and the Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

, and now grown worldwide for its edible bean
Bean
Bean is a common name for large plant seeds of several genera of the family Fabaceae used for human food or animal feed....

, popular both dry and as a green bean
Green bean
Green beans , also known as French beans , are the unripe fruit of any kind of bean, including the yardlong bean, the hyacinth bean, the winged bean, and especially the common bean , whose pods are also usually called string beans in the northeastern and western United States, but can also be...

. The leaf
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

 is occasionally used as a leaf vegetable
Leaf vegetable
Leaf vegetables, also called potherbs, green vegetables, greens, leafy greens or salad greens, are plant leaves eaten as a vegetable, sometimes accompanied by tender petioles and shoots...

, and the straw
Straw
Straw is an agricultural by-product, the dry stalks of cereal plants, after the grain and chaff have been removed. Straw makes up about half of the yield of cereal crops such as barley, oats, rice, rye and wheat. It has many uses, including fuel, livestock bedding and fodder, thatching and...

 is used for fodder
Fodder
Fodder or animal feed is any agricultural foodstuff used specifically to feed domesticated livestock such as cattle, goats, sheep, horses, chickens and pigs. Most animal feed is from plants but some is of animal origin...

. Beans, squash
Squash (fruit)
Squashes generally refer to four species of the genus Cucurbita, also called marrows depending on variety or the nationality of the speaker...

 and maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

 constituted the "Three Sisters"
Three Sisters (agriculture)
The Three Sisters are the three main agricultural crops of various Native American groups in North America: squash, maize, and climbing beans ....

 that provided the foundation of Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 agriculture.

Botanically
Botany
Botany, plant science, or plant biology is a branch of biology that involves the scientific study of plant life. Traditionally, botany also included the study of fungi, algae and viruses...

, the common bean is classified as a dicotyledon
Dicotyledon
The dicotyledons, also known as dicots, are a group of flowering plants whose seed typically has two embryonic leaves or cotyledons. There are around 199,350 species within this group...

. Beans are a legume and thus acquire their nitrogen through an association with rhizobia
Rhizobia
Rhizobia are soil bacteria that fix nitrogen after becoming established inside root nodules of legumes . Rhizobia require a plant host; they cannot independently fix nitrogen...

, a species of nitrogen-fixing
Nitrogen fixation
Nitrogen fixation is the natural process, either biological or abiotic, by which nitrogen in the atmosphere is converted into ammonia . This process is essential for life because fixed nitrogen is required to biosynthesize the basic building blocks of life, e.g., nucleotides for DNA and RNA and...

 bacteria. 18.3 million tonnes of dry common beans and 6.6 million tonnes of green beans were grown worldwide in 2007.

The other major type of bean is the broad bean (Vicia faba), of which only 3.7 million tonnes were grown in 2007. The commercial production of beans is well-distributed worldwide with countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania, South and North America all among the top bean growers. Brazil and India are the largest producers of dry beans while China produces, by far, the largest quantity of green beans, almost as much as the rest of the top ten growers combined.

Description

Top Ten Dry Bean Producers
(million metric ton), 2007
3.2
3.0
1.7
1.2
1.1
0.9
0.5
0.4
0.4
0.3
World Total 18.3
Source: FAO, FAOSTAT
Top Ten Green Bean Producers
(million metric ton), 2007
2.47
0.87
0.52
0.42
0.22
0.22
0.19
0.18
0.12
0.11
World Total 6.61
Source: FAO, FAOSTAT


The common bean is a highly variable species with a long history. Bush varieties form erect bushes 20 – tall, while pole or running varieties form vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

s 2 – long. All varieties bear alternate, green or purple leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

, divided into three oval, smooth-edged leaflets, each 6 – long and 3 – wide. The white, pink, or purple flower
Flower
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

s are about 1 cm long, and give way to pods 8 – long, 1–1.5 cm wide, green, yellow, black or purple in color, each containing 4–6 beans. The beans are smooth, plump, kidney-shaped, up to 1.5 cm long, range widely in color, and are often mottled in two or more colors.

Dry beans

Similar to other beans, the common bean is high in starch
Starch
Starch or amylum is a carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined together by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by all green plants as an energy store...

, protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

 and dietary fiber
Dietary fiber
Dietary fiber, dietary fibre, or sometimes roughage is the indigestible portion of plant foods having two main components:* soluble fiber that is readily fermented in the colon into gases and physiologically active byproducts, and* insoluble fiber that is metabolically inert, absorbing water as it...

 and is an excellent source of iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

, potassium
Potassium
Potassium is the chemical element with the symbol K and atomic number 19. Elemental potassium is a soft silvery-white alkali metal that oxidizes rapidly in air and is very reactive with water, generating sufficient heat to ignite the hydrogen emitted in the reaction.Potassium and sodium are...

, selenium
Selenium
Selenium is a chemical element with atomic number 34, chemical symbol Se, and an atomic mass of 78.96. It is a nonmetal, whose properties are intermediate between those of adjacent chalcogen elements sulfur and tellurium...

, molybdenum
Molybdenum
Molybdenum , is a Group 6 chemical element with the symbol Mo and atomic number 42. The name is from Neo-Latin Molybdaenum, from Ancient Greek , meaning lead, itself proposed as a loanword from Anatolian Luvian and Lydian languages, since its ores were confused with lead ores...

, thiamine
Thiamine
Thiamine or thiamin or vitamin B1 , named as the "thio-vitamine" is a water-soluble vitamin of the B complex. First named aneurin for the detrimental neurological effects if not present in the diet, it was eventually assigned the generic descriptor name vitamin B1. Its phosphate derivatives are...

, vitamin B6
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin and is part of the vitamin B complex group. Several forms of the vitamin are known, but pyridoxal phosphate is the active form and is a cofactor in many reactions of amino acid metabolism, including transamination, deamination, and decarboxylation...

, and folic acid
Folic acid
Folic acid and folate , as well as pteroyl-L-glutamic acid, pteroyl-L-glutamate, and pteroylmonoglutamic acid are forms of the water-soluble vitamin B9...

.

Dry beans will keep indefinitely if stored in a cool, dry place, but as time passes, their nutritive
Nutrition
Nutrition is the provision, to cells and organisms, of the materials necessary to support life. Many common health problems can be prevented or alleviated with a healthy diet....

 value and flavor
Flavor
Flavor or flavour is the sensory impression of a food or other substance, and is determined mainly by the chemical senses of taste and smell. The "trigeminal senses", which detect chemical irritants in the mouth and throat as well as temperature and texture, are also very important to the overall...

 degrade and cooking times lengthen. Dried beans are almost always cooked by boiling
Boiling
Boiling is the rapid vaporization of a liquid, which occurs when a liquid is heated to its boiling point, the temperature at which the vapor pressure of the liquid is equal to the pressure exerted on the liquid by the surrounding environmental pressure. While below the boiling point a liquid...

, often after having been soaked for several hours. While the soaking is not strictly necessary, it shortens cooking time and results in more evenly textured beans. In addition, discarding one or more batches of soaking water leaches out hard-to-digest complex sugars that can cause flatulence
Flatulence
Flatulence is the expulsion through the rectum of a mixture of gases that are byproducts of the digestion process of mammals and other animals. The medical term for the mixture of gases is flatus, informally known as a fart, or simply gas...

, though those who eat beans regularly rarely have difficulties with flatulence as intestinal microbes adjust. There are several methods including overnight soaking, and the power soak method, which is to boil beans for three minutes, then set them aside for 2–4 hours, then drain and discard the water and proceed with cooking. Common beans take longer to cook than most pulses
Pulse (legume)
A pulse is an annual leguminous crop yielding from one to twelve seeds of variable size, shape, and color within a pod. Pulses are used for food and animal feed. The term "pulse", as used by the Food and Agricultural Organization , is reserved for crops harvested solely for the dry seed...

: cooking times vary from one to four hours but are substantially reduced with pressure cooking
Pressure cooking
Pressure cooking is a method of cooking in a sealed vessel that does not permit air or liquids to escape below a preset pressure. Because the boiling point of water increases as the pressure increases, the pressure built up inside the cooker allows the liquid in the pot to rise to a higher...

.

In Mexico, Central America and South America, the traditional spice to use with beans is epazote
Epazote
Epazote, wormseed, Jesuit's tea, Mexican tea, Paico or Herba Sancti Mariæ is an herb native to Central America, South America, and southern Mexico....

, which is also said to aid digestion. In East Asia a type of seaweed, Kombu
Kombu
Kombu or konbu , also called dashima or haidai , is edible kelp from the family Laminariaceae widely eaten in East Asia....

, is added to beans as they cook for the same purpose. Salt, sugar, and acidic foods like tomatoes may harden uncooked beans resulting in seasoned beans at the expense of slightly longer cooking times.

Dry beans may also be bought pre-cooked and canned
Canning
Canning is a method of preserving food in which the food contents are processed and sealed in an airtight container. Canning provides a typical shelf life ranging from one to five years, although under specific circumstances a freeze-dried canned product, such as canned, dried lentils, can last as...

 as refried beans
Refried beans
Refried beans is a dish of cooked and mashed beans and is a traditional staple of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, although each cuisine has a somewhat different approach when making the dish.-Ingredients and preparation:...

, or whole with water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

, salt
Edible salt
Salt, also known as table salt, or rock salt, is a mineral that is composed primarily of sodium chloride , a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of ionic salts. It is essential for animal life in small quantities, but is harmful to animals and plants in excess...

, and sometimes sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

.

Green beans

There are three commonly known types of green beans: string or runner beans, stringless or French beans (depending on whether the pod has a tough, fibrous "string" running along its length), and snap beans, which may be round or have a thin flat pod that requires less cooking time. Compared to the dry beans, they provide less starch and protein, and more vitamin A
Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a vitamin that is needed by the retina of the eye in the form of a specific metabolite, the light-absorbing molecule retinal, that is necessary for both low-light and color vision...

 and vitamin C
Vitamin C
Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate is an essential nutrient for humans and certain other animal species. In living organisms ascorbate acts as an antioxidant by protecting the body against oxidative stress...

. The green beans are often steamed
Steaming
Steaming is a method of cooking using steam. Steaming is considered a healthy cooking technique and capable of cooking almost all kinds of food.-Method:...

, boiled, stir-fried
Stir frying
Stir frying is an umbrella term used to describe two Chinese cooking techniques for preparing food in a wok: chǎo and bào . The term stir-fry was introduced into the English language by Buwei Yang Chao, in her book How to Cook and Eat in Chinese, to describe the chǎo technique...

, or baked
Baking
Baking is the technique of prolonged cooking of food by dry heat acting by convection, and not by radiation, normally in an oven, but also in hot ashes, or on hot stones. It is primarily used for the preparation of bread, cakes, pastries and pies, tarts, quiches, cookies and crackers. Such items...

 in casserole
Casserole
A casserole, from the French for "saucepan", is a large, deep dish used both in the oven and as a serving vessel. The word casserole is also used for the food cooked and served in such a vessel, with the cookware itself called a casserole dish or casserole pan...

s.

Shelling beans

Shell beans or shelling beans are beans removed from their pods before being cooked or dried. Common beans can be used as shell beans, but the term also refers to other species of beans whose pods are not typically eaten, such as lima beans, soybeans, peas
PEAS
P.E.A.S. is an acronym in artificial intelligence that stands for Performance, Environment, Actuators, Sensors.-Performance:Performance is a function that measures the quality of the actions the agent did....

, and fava beans. Fresh shell beans are nutritionally similar to dry beans but are prepared more like a vegetable, often being steamed, fried, or made into soups.

Popping beans

The nuña is an Andean subspecies, Phaseolus vulgaris subsp. nunas (formerly Phaseolus vulgaris (Nuñas Group)), with round multicolored seeds that resemble pigeon eggs. When cooked on high heat, the bean explodes, exposing the inner part, in the manner of popcorn
Popcorn
Popcorn, or popping corn, is corn which expands from the kernel and puffs up when heated. Corn is able to pop because, like sorghum, quinoa and millet, its kernels have a hard moisture-sealed hull and a dense starchy interior. This allows pressure to build inside the kernel until an explosive...

 and other puffed grain
Puffed grain
Puffed grain includes ancient puffed grains like popcorn as well as puffed rice. Modern puffed grains are often created using high temperature, pressure, and/or extrusion....

s.

Toxicity

The toxic compound phytohaemagglutinin
Phytohaemagglutinin
Phytohaemagglutinin is a lectin found in plants, especially legumes. PHA actually consists of two closely related proteins, called leucoagglutinin and PHA-E. The letters E and L indicate these proteins agglutinate Erythrocytes and Leukocytes...

, a lectin
Lectin
Lectins are sugar-binding proteins that are highly specific for their sugar moieties. They play a role in biological recognition phenomena involving cells and proteins. For example, some viruses use lectins to attach themselves to the cells of the host organism during infection...

, is present in many varieties of common bean but is especially concentrated in red kidney beans. Phytohaemagglutinin can be deactivated by cooking beans at 100 °C (212 °F) for ten minutes. However, for dry beans the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

 (FDA) also recommends an initial soak of at least 5 hours in water; the soaking water should be discarded.

The ten minutes at 100 °C (212 °F) is required to degrade the toxin, and is much shorter than the hours required to fully cook the beans themselves. However, lower cooking temperatures may have the paradoxical effect of potentiating the toxic effect of haemagglutinin. Beans cooked at 80 °C (176 °F) are reported to be up five times as toxic as raw beans. Outbreaks of poisoning have been associated with the use of slow cooker
Slow cooker
A slow cooker, also known as a Crock-Pot or Slo-Cooker , is a countertop electrical cooking appliance that is used for simmering, which requires maintaining a relatively low temperature compared to other cooking methods for many hours, allowing unattended cooking...

s, the low cooking temperatures of which may be unable to degrade the toxin.

The primary symptoms of phytohaemagglutinin poisoning are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Onset is from 1 to 3 hours after consumption of improperly prepared beans, and symptoms typically resolve within a few hours. Consumption of as few as four or five raw kidney beans may be sufficient to trigger symptoms.

Beans are high in purine
Purine
A purine is a heterocyclic aromatic organic compound, consisting of a pyrimidine ring fused to an imidazole ring. Purines, including substituted purines and their tautomers, are the most widely distributed kind of nitrogen-containing heterocycle in nature....

s, which are metabolized to uric acid
Uric acid
Uric acid is a heterocyclic compound of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen with the formula C5H4N4O3. It forms ions and salts known as urates and acid urates such as ammonium acid urate. Uric acid is created when the body breaks down purine nucleotides. High blood concentrations of uric acid...

. Uric acid is not itself considered a toxin, but it may promote the development or exacerbation of gout
Gout
Gout is a medical condition usually characterized by recurrent attacks of acute inflammatory arthritis—a red, tender, hot, swollen joint. The metatarsal-phalangeal joint at the base of the big toe is the most commonly affected . However, it may also present as tophi, kidney stones, or urate...

. For this reason, persons with gout
Gout
Gout is a medical condition usually characterized by recurrent attacks of acute inflammatory arthritis—a red, tender, hot, swollen joint. The metatarsal-phalangeal joint at the base of the big toe is the most commonly affected . However, it may also present as tophi, kidney stones, or urate...

 are often advised to limit their consumption of beans. Uric acid is also an important antioxidant in humans and, according to cohort studies, might be neuroprotective in cases of multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory disease in which the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord are damaged, leading to demyelination and scarring as well as a broad spectrum of signs and symptoms...

 and Parkinson's disease.

Varieties

Many well-known bean varieties belong to this species, and none of the lists below are in any way exhaustive. Both bush and running (pole) varieties exist. The colors and shapes of pods and seeds vary tremendously.

Anasazi Beans

Anasazi Bean is a registered trademark referring to a bean sometimes called Aztec bean, cave bean, New Mexico Appaloosa. It is a mottled red and white bean native to the North American Southwest and was made commercially viable by the trademark owner.

Black beans

The small, shiny black turtle bean is especially popular in Latin American cuisine
Latin American cuisine
Latin American Cuisine refers to typical foods, beverages, and cooking styles common to many of the countries and cultures in Latin America...

, though it can also be found in Cajun and Creole cuisines of south Louisiana. It is often called simply the black bean (frijol negro, zaragoza, poroto negro, caraota o habichuela negra in Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

, feijão preto in Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

), although this can cause confusion with other black beans.

The black turtle bean has a dense, meat
Meat
Meat is animal flesh that is used as food. Most often, this means the skeletal muscle and associated fat and other tissues, but it may also describe other edible tissues such as organs and offal...

y texture, which makes it popular in vegetarian dishes, such as the Mexican-American black bean burrito
Burrito
A burrito , or taco de harina, is a type of Mexican food. It consists of a wheat flour tortilla wrapped or folded around a filling. The flour tortilla is usually lightly grilled or steamed, to soften it and make it more pliable. In Mexico, refried beans or meat are sometimes the only fillings...

. It is a very popular bean in various regions of Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, and is used in the national dish, feijoada
Feijoada
Feijoada is a stew of beans with beef and pork, which is a typical from Brazilian Cuisine, is also typical in Angola, Mozambique, Goa, India and other former Portuguese colonies. In Brazil, feijoada is considered by many as the national dish...

. It is also a main ingredient of Moros y Cristianos
Moros y cristianos
Moros y Cristianos or Moros i Cristians literally in English Moors and Christians, is a set of festival activities which are celebrated in many towns and cities of Spain, mainly in the southern Valencian Community; according to popular tradition the festivals commemorate the battles, combats and...

in Cuba, is a must-have in the typical gallo pinto
Gallo pinto
Gallo pinto is a traditional dish of Costa Rica that was introduced by nicaraguan immigrants. During the 1980's many nicaraguans immigrated to Costa Rica influencing their food and music. Though many variations exist, the dish at its most basic is composed of pre-cooked rice and beans fried together...

 of Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

 and Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

, is a fundamental part of pabellón criollo in Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

, and is served in almost all of Latin America, as well as many Hispanic enclaves in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The black turtle bean is also popular for making into soups. In Cuba, black bean soup is a traditional dish and it is served with white rice.

It is also common to keep the boiled water of these beans (which acquires a black coloring) and consume it as a soup with other ingredients for seasoning (known as sopa negra, black soup), as a broth (caldo de frijol, bean broth) or to season or color other dishes (aforementioned gallo pinto, for example).

Black turtle beans have recently been reported to be an extremely good source of nutrition
Nutrition
Nutrition is the provision, to cells and organisms, of the materials necessary to support life. Many common health problems can be prevented or alleviated with a healthy diet....

al antioxidant
Antioxidant
An antioxidant is a molecule capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons or hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When...

s.

Black turtle bean varieties include:
  • Black Magic
  • Blackhawk
  • Domino
  • Nighthawk
  • Valentine
  • Zorro

Cranberry and borlotti beans

Cranberry beans originated in Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

 as the cargamanto. The bean is a medium-large, tan or hazelnut-colored bean, splashed with red/black to magenta streaks. A new cranberry bean variety, Crimson, is light tan and speckled maroon, and is also resistant to viruses
Plant virus
Plant viruses are viruses that affect plants. Like all other viruses, plant viruses are obligate intracellular parasites that do not have the molecular machinery to replicate without a host. Plant viruses are pathogenic to higher plants...

 and has a high yield.
Borlotti beans, also known as Roman beans or romano beans (not to be confused with Italian flat beans, a green bean
Green bean
Green beans , also known as French beans , are the unripe fruit of any kind of bean, including the yardlong bean, the hyacinth bean, the winged bean, and especially the common bean , whose pods are also usually called string beans in the northeastern and western United States, but can also be...

 also called "romano bean"), are a variety of cranberry bean bred in Italy to have a thicker skin. It is very popular in Italian, Portuguese and Greek cuisine.

Pinto beans look the same as cranberry and borlotti beans, but differ in taste.

Pink beans

Pink beans are small, oval-shaped beans, pale pink in color, also known by the Spanish name habichuelas rosadas. The Santa Maria
Santa Maria, California
Santa Maria is a city in Santa Barbara County, on the Central Coast of California. The 2010 census population was 100,062, putting it ahead of Santa Barbara for the first time and making it the largest city in the county...

 pinquito (spanglish
Spanglish
.Spanglish refers to the blend of Spanish and English, in the speech of people who speak parts of two languages, or whose normal language is different from that of the country where they live. The Hispanic population of the United States and the British population in Argentina use varieties of...

 = pink and small(ito)), is commercially grown on the mesas above Santa Maria, California, and is a necessary ingredient in Santa Maria Style BBQ
Santa Maria Style BBQ
Santa Maria Style Barbecue is a regional culinary tradition rooted in the Santa Maria Valley in Santa Barbara County on the Central Coast of California...

.

Pinto or mottled beans

The pinto bean (Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

: frijol pinto, literally "speckled bean") is named for its mottled skin (compare pinto horse
American Paint Horse
The American Paint Horse is a breed of horse that combines both the conformational characteristics of a western stock horse with a pinto spotting pattern of white and dark coat colors. Developed from a base of spotted horses with Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred bloodlines, the American Paint Horse...

), hence it is a type of mottled bean. It is the most common bean in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and northwestern Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, and is most often eaten whole in broth or mashed and refried
Refried beans
Refried beans is a dish of cooked and mashed beans and is a traditional staple of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, although each cuisine has a somewhat different approach when making the dish.-Ingredients and preparation:...

. Either whole or mashed, it is a common filling for burrito
Burrito
A burrito , or taco de harina, is a type of Mexican food. It consists of a wheat flour tortilla wrapped or folded around a filling. The flour tortilla is usually lightly grilled or steamed, to soften it and make it more pliable. In Mexico, refried beans or meat are sometimes the only fillings...

s. The young pods may also be harvested and cooked as green pinto beans.

This is the bean most commonly used for refried beans
Refried beans
Refried beans is a dish of cooked and mashed beans and is a traditional staple of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, although each cuisine has a somewhat different approach when making the dish.-Ingredients and preparation:...

 (fresh or canned) and in many dishes. Rice and pinto beans served with cornbread or corn tortillas are often a staple meal where meat is unavailable; the amino acids in this combination make it a complete protein source. This variety is often used in chili con carne
Chili con carne
Chili con carne is a spicy stew. The name of the dish derives from the Spanish chile con carne, "chili pepper with meat". Traditional versions are made, minimally, from chili peppers, garlic, onions, and cumin, along with chopped or ground beef. Beans and tomatoes are frequently included...

, although the kidney bean, black bean, and many others may also be used in other locales (see below).

In the southeastern part of the United States, pinto beans were once a staple of the people, especially during the winter months. Some churches in rural areas still sponsor "pinto bean suppers" for social gatherings and fund raisers.

The alubia pinta alavesa, or the "Alavese pinto bean", is a red variety of the pinto bean that originated in Añana
Añana
Añana is a valley and municipality located in the province of Álava, in the Basque Country, northern Spain, with the main population nucleus being the village Salinas de Añana. The town is renowned for its old salt flats dating at least from the times of the Romans, an industry much in decay but...

, a town and municipality
Municipality
A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...

 located in the province of Álava
Álava
Álava is a province of Spain and a historical territory of the Basque Country, heir of the ancient Lord of Álava. Its capital city is Vitoria-Gasteiz which is also the capital of the autonomous community...

, in the Basque Country
Basque Country (autonomous community)
The Basque Country is an autonomous community of northern Spain. It includes the Basque provinces of Álava, Biscay and Gipuzkoa, also called Historical Territories....

 of northern Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. In October, the Feria de la alubia pinta alavesa (Alavese pinto bean fair
Fair
A fair or fayre is a gathering of people to display or trade produce or other goods, to parade or display animals and often to enjoy associated carnival or funfair entertainment. It is normally of the essence of a fair that it is temporary; some last only an afternoon while others may ten weeks. ...

) is celebrated in Pobes.

Pinto bean varieties include:
  • Burke
  • Othello
  • Maverick
  • Sierra


Studies have indicated pinto beans can help reduce cholesterol
Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a complex isoprenoid. Specifically, it is a waxy steroid of fat that is produced in the liver or intestines. It is used to produce hormones and cell membranes and is transported in the blood plasma of all mammals. It is an essential structural component of mammalian cell membranes...

 levels.

Red or kidney beans

The kidney bean, otherwise called the chili bean, with its dark red skin, is named for its visual resemblance to a kidney
Kidney
The kidneys, organs with several functions, serve essential regulatory roles in most animals, including vertebrates and some invertebrates. They are essential in the urinary system and also serve homeostatic functions such as the regulation of electrolytes, maintenance of acid–base balance, and...

. The kidney bean is also known as the red bean, although this usage can cause confusion with other red beans. Red kidney beans (rājmā
Rajma
Rājmā or Rāzmā is a popular North Indian vegetarian dish consisting of red kidney beans in a thick gravy with lots of Indian whole spices and usually served with rice and roti. Although, kidney bean is not of Indian origin, it is a part of regular diet in northern regions Punjab, Kashmir, Delhi,...

in Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

 and Punjabi
Punjabi language
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by inhabitants of the historical Punjab region . For Sikhs, the Punjabi language stands as the official language in which all ceremonies take place. In Pakistan, Punjabi is the most widely spoken language...

) are an integral part of the cuisine in northern region of India. Red kidney beans are used in New Orleans and much of southern Louisiana for the classic Monday Creole dish of red beans and rice
Red beans and rice
Red beans and rice is an emblematic dish of Louisiana Creole cuisine traditionally made on Mondays with red beans, vegetables , spices and pork bones as left over from Sunday dinner, cooked together slowly in a pot and served over rice...

. The smaller, darker red beans are also used, particularly in Louisiana families with a recent Caribbean heritage. They are a common ingredient in chili con carne
Chili con carne
Chili con carne is a spicy stew. The name of the dish derives from the Spanish chile con carne, "chili pepper with meat". Traditional versions are made, minimally, from chili peppers, garlic, onions, and cumin, along with chopped or ground beef. Beans and tomatoes are frequently included...

. Small kidney beans used in La Rioja, Spain, are called caparrones
Caparrones
Caparrones is a Spanish stew made of caparrón, a variety of red kidney bean, and a spicy sausage chorizo, both of which are local specialties of the Spanish La Rioja region. The shape of caparrón bean is shorter and rounder than common red kidney beans...

.

Raw kidney beans, and some other beans, contain the toxin
Toxin
A toxin is a poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms; man-made substances created by artificial processes are thus excluded...

 phytohaemagglutinin
Phytohaemagglutinin
Phytohaemagglutinin is a lectin found in plants, especially legumes. PHA actually consists of two closely related proteins, called leucoagglutinin and PHA-E. The letters E and L indicate these proteins agglutinate Erythrocytes and Leukocytes...

, which is destroyed by boiling for at least ten minutes. Dry beans must be boiled prior to slow cooking to avoid poisoning. Even a few beans can be toxic, and beans can be as much as five times more toxic if cooked at 175°F (80°C) than if eaten raw, so adequate preboiling is vital. Cases of poisoning by slow-cooked beans have been published in the UK; poisoning has occurred in the USA, but has not been formally reported.

Shell beans

Cornucopia
Cornucopia Institute
The Cornucopia Institute is a non-profit organization headquartered in Cornucopia, Wisconsin, with the mission of "Seeking economic justice for the family-scale farming community."...

 lists 37 varieties of shell beans. The light green flageolet bean is revered in France and soon the heirloom Chevrier will come under a controlled label reminiscent of the wine "Appellation d'origine controllée" called "Label Rouge". A number of other beans are already produced under this label.

Flageolet bean varieties include:
  • Chevrier (the original heirloom)
  • Elsa
  • Flambeau
  • Flamingo

White beans

The small, white navy bean, also called pea bean or haricot, is particularly popular in Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and the US
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, featured in such dishes as baked beans
Baked beans
Baked beans is a dish containing beans, sometimes baked but, despite the name, usually stewed, in a sauce. Most commercial canned baked beans are made from haricot beans, also known as navy beans – a variety of Phaseolus vulgaris – in a sauce. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, a tomato...

 and even pies
Bean pie
A bean pie is a sweet custard pie whose filling consists of mashed beans—usually navy beans—sugar, butter, milk, and spices. Common spices and flavorings include vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Variations can include cloves, ginger and more....

, as well as in various soup
Soup
Soup is a generally warm food that is made by combining ingredients such as meat and vegetables with stock, juice, water, or another liquid. Hot soups are additionally characterized by boiling solid ingredients in liquids in a pot until the flavors are extracted, forming a broth.Traditionally,...

s such as Senate bean soup. Consumption of baked beans has been shown to lower total cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. This might be at least partly explained by high saponin content of navy bean. Saponins also exhibit antibacterial and antifungal activity, and have been found to inhibit cancer cell growth. Furthermore, navy bean is the richest source of ferulic acid
Ferulic acid
Ferulic acid is a hydroxycinnamic acid, a type of organic compound. It is an abundant phenolic phytochemical found in plant cell wall components such as arabinoxylans as covalent side chains. It is related to trans-cinnamic acid. As a component of lignin, ferulic acid is a precursor in the...

 and p-coumaric acid among the common bean varieties.

In Costa Rican cuisine, white beans are exclusively used in dishes containing pork
Pork
Pork is the culinary name for meat from the domestic pig , which is eaten in many countries. It is one of the most commonly consumed meats worldwide, with evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC....

 meat.

Navy bean varieties include:
  • Great Northern
  • Rainy River
  • Robust
  • Michelite
  • Sanilac


Other white beans include cannellini, a popular variety in Central and Southern Italy, which is related to the kidney bean, and like the kidney bean, it has higher levels of the toxin lectin (phytohaemagglutinin). Two notable Greek types of giant white beans exist, the gígantes (Greek: γίγαντες, giants) and the eléfantes (ελέφαντες, elephants), which are more than twice as big as regular beans, taste slightly sweeter, and are favored for baking. These beans are white types of the runner bean. They are produced in a specific part of northern Greece (protected label), but can be found throughout the country.

Yellow beans

Sinaloa Azufrado, Sulphur, Mayocoba, and Peruano (also called canary) are types of yellow beans.

Peruano beans (also called canary beans) are small, oval, yellow-colored beans about 1/2 inch (1 cm) long with a thin skin. Peruano beans have a creamy texture when cooked, and are one of the top-selling beans in Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

 since 2005 (being native to Mexico, despite the name). However, yellow beans are uncommon in the United States due to a controversial patent issued in 1999 to John Proctor, who selected and named a strain of yellow bean from seeds he brought back from Mexico. U.S. Patent No. 5,894,079 (the Enola or yellow bean patent) granted POD-NERS, LLC., exclusive right to import and sell yellow beans in the United States from 1999 through 2008, when the patent was rejected after reexamination.

See also

  • Azuki bean
    Azuki bean
    The is an annual vine, Vigna angularis, widely grown throughout East Asia and the Himalayas for its small bean. The cultivars most familiar in north-east Asia have a uniform red color, but white, black, gray and variously mottled varieties are also known. Scientists presume Vigna angularis var...

  • Bean
    Bean
    Bean is a common name for large plant seeds of several genera of the family Fabaceae used for human food or animal feed....

     — for other genera and species of beans
  • Green bean
    Green bean
    Green beans , also known as French beans , are the unripe fruit of any kind of bean, including the yardlong bean, the hyacinth bean, the winged bean, and especially the common bean , whose pods are also usually called string beans in the northeastern and western United States, but can also be...

  • Chickpea
    Chickpea
    The chickpea is a legume of the family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae...

  • Dal
    Dal
    Dal is a preparation of pulses which have been stripped of their outer hulls and split. It also refers to the thick stew prepared from these, an important part of Indian, Nepali, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, and Bangladeshi cuisine...

  • Lentil
    Lentil
    The lentil is an edible pulse. It is a bushy annual plant of the legume family, grown for its lens-shaped seeds...

  • List of common bean diseases
  • Mung bean
    Mung bean
    The mung bean is the seed of Vigna radiata. It is native to the Indian subcontinent.-Description:They are small, ovoid in shape, and green in color...

  • Pulse (legume)
    Pulse (legume)
    A pulse is an annual leguminous crop yielding from one to twelve seeds of variable size, shape, and color within a pod. Pulses are used for food and animal feed. The term "pulse", as used by the Food and Agricultural Organization , is reserved for crops harvested solely for the dry seed...

  • Broad bean
    Vicia faba
    This article refers to the Broad Bean plant. For Broadbean the company, see Broadbean, Inc.Vicia faba, the Broad Bean, Fava Bean, Field Bean, Bell Bean or Tic Bean, is a species of bean native to north Africa and southwest Asia, and extensively cultivated elsewhere. A variety is provisionally...

  • Organic beans
    Organic Beans
    There are three major types of organic beans: dry beans, snap beans , and soybeans. The mature seed of dry beans serve as a protein source in a variety of foods worldwide. Dry beans and snap beans are the same species, although dry beans are distinguished from snap beans which are consumed as...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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