Beans, beans they're good!

Beans are edible pods and seeds. They can be easily grown in your home garden, offering a fresh vegetable with your meal.

Beans : more than 200 delicious, wholesome recipes from around the world
by Aliza Green ; foreword by William Woys Weaver ; photography by Steve Legato.
Philadelphia : Running Press, c2004.
"Earthy, elegant, affordable, and nourishing, the healthful legume gets star billing in this comprehensive bean cookbook. More than 200 delectable recipes--gathered from Aliza Green's travels throughout"
Fagioli : the bean cuisine of Italy
Judith Barrett.
[Emmaus, Pa.] : Rodale, c2004.
Tantalizing recipes for the great bean dishes of Italy
The daily bean : 175 easy and creative bean recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and...yes, dessert! : a cookbook
Suzanne Caciola White.
Washington, D.C. : LifeLine Press, 2004.
Includes index.
The bean book : over 70 recipes using beans and other pulses.
Guilford, Conn. : Lyons Press, c2002.
Packed with illuminating information, The Bean Book setsout the history of humanity's relationship with the bean,details its nutritional and health benefits, and providesan exhaustive list and description of all the major beansin the world, from pinto and cannellini beans tochickpeas and lentils. Along with numerous storing andpreparation tips, The Bean Book features a wide range ofinternational dishes that brings out the incrediblevariety of styles and tastes that beans can deliver. Itprovides dozens of hearty main course dishes, rangingfrom the vegetarian to classic meat and bean dishes.Illustrated throughout with lush full-colour photographs,The Bean Book is a must-have for anyone who already lovesthe delicious variety of bean flavours and will convinceanyone who has ever thought that beans are but a poorman's food that there really is magic to this fruit.

Cooking dried beans

Soak beans overnight in water.
Boil beans for 10 min.
Cover & reduce heat to low.
Simmer until tender--1-2 hrs.

Beans have enough fiber to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, plus help prevent colon cancer. Similar to oats, beans assist in reducing cholesterol levels. They are also rich in protein, containing the highest amount of protein of any vegetable.

There are many varieties of beans available at your local grocery store to try.

  • Kidney beans are red and kidney shaped. They can add robust flavor and creamy texture to chili or a bean salad.
  • Chickpeas, also known as garbanzos, have a nutty taste and firm texture. They are tan and roundish. Among other things, they are cooked and ground into a paste called hummus.
  • Black beans are black with a white peel and kidney shaped. They bring an earthy mushroom flavor to a pureed sauce for dipping shrimp.
  • Lima beans, also known as butter beans, are light green. Their buttery flavor and creamy texture are delicious in a succotash.
  • Lentils are dark in color being either brown, green or red. They are lens shaped. Make a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs soup with the fresh flavor and firm texture of these beans.
  • Mung beans are small, round, green, black or brown beans. They are sprouted to produce crisp, tastey bean sprouts. Use beans sprouts instead of lettuce on your next sandwich.
  • Navy beans are small, white and oval. They have a mild flavor and meaty texture. Classic Boston baked beans are made with navy beans.
  • Fava beans are tan and oval. They can be pureed to make an assertive, almost bitter earthy flavor bean dip.
  • Pink beans are pale pinkish/brown in color. Add them to a vegetarian stew for meaty flavor and mealy texture.
  • Pinto beans are oval and beige in color. Their earthy flavor can add mellowness to any soup.

All in all, there are many varieties of beans. To be creative in serving your bean dishes, try varying the ingredients. They can be added to any meat, fish, or pasta dish. Beans, they're good...and good for you!

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff