Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Good Bean Info!

Beans are a very good source of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, B vitamins, calcium and iron. The majority of beans are low in fat and high in soluble fiber, which can assist in lowering cholesterol levels.

The following are a list of various beans and their uses:

Anasazi Beans: originally grown by Native Americans, are red and white speckled beans similar in size to pinto beans. Anasazi beans are excellent in Mexican dishes and posses a sweet, full flavor.

Black Beans: Sometimes referred to as "turtle" beans. These beans are especially popular in Mexican, South American and Cuban cuisines. They are considered a change of pace from pinto beans in Southwestern specialties like tacos and tostados.

Black Eyed Peas: They are more closely related to beans than to peas, however like peas they do not require presoaking. This bean works well added to dishes with strong greens such as spinach, chard or kale.

Fava Beans: These beans are large and brown, extensively used in Mediterranean cuisine and may be available fresh, canned or dried. Their strong flavor is delicious accompanied by herb tomato-based sauces. Fava beans go well in soups and stews. Fresh fava beans come in pods, and need to be removed before eating or cooking.

Garbanzo Beans: Also known as chick-peas, these beans are very versatile and unique with a mild nutty flavor. This bean is the main ingredient in popular Middle Eastern dishes like hummus, or falafel. They also go well in salads with fresh herbs and garlic and onion. You can save cooking time by utilizing precooked canned beans.

Great Northern White Beans: Classic soup beans, with a mild flavor and creamy texture. They puree well to thicken soups and milk based chowders.

Kidney Beans: They are the slightly smaller red bean. Kidney beans are very popular in the United States. This bean goes well in chili, soups and marinated bean salads.

Lima Beans: They are often called butter beans, come in large, small and "baby" sizes. Lima beans go well with corn in succotash, or cooked with tomatoes and herbs for a simple side dish.

Lentils: Known for making hearty soups. Lentils are fast cooking and do not require pre-soaking. Red lentils are often used in Indian cuisine. Brown lentils go well in salads and serve as the foundation for vegetarian burgers.

Mung Beans: They are very popular in Asian and Indian cuisine. Their flavor is complemented by chilies, curries and ginger. These beans may be substituted for lentils or peas in many recipes.

Pinto Beans: They are full bodied with an earthy flavor and go well in casseroles, rolled into a tortilla, or re fried. They are served in many of the spicy Southwestern dishes. Pinto beans are speckled pink and brown when dry, fading to brown when cooked.

Soybeans: This small round bean native to China has more protein than any above the beans mentioned. Soybeans are slow to cook, but a very versatile. Soybeans are often processed into other foods, such as soymilk or tofu. Edamame is the crunchy green variety of soybean.

Split Peas: They become a soft pulp when cooked and are used mostly for stews and soups. Both green and yellow split peas go well with tomatoes, potatoes and rice.

*Storage Suggestion.*

Cooked beans freeze very well. Cook a quantity at once and freeze them to use for last minute bean dishes.

Dried beans are best stored in airtight containers, in a cool environment away from light. They are best used within a year, also older beans can take longer to cook.

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