A to Z of All About Beans and Different Types of Beans – Beans are an Important Part of a Healthy Diet
Beans, those wonderful little legumes that create constant confusion with those of us who love to eat them. There are so many different types of beans that it’s easy to find your favorite.
Which ones are actually beans? Do you really need to soak them? And what beans are eaten how?
Want to add more protein and healthy fiber to your diet? Cook with beans!
We often hear about the importance of eating more anti-inflammatory foods and beans are an excellent source anti-inflammatory protein. Beans are also full of minerals, B-complex vitamins, and vitamin K.
Let’s begin with the A – Z of our beloved beans.
A is for Adzuki Beans – These small, red beans are grown in East Asia and are a popular addition to the 5 bean salad. They are a high fiber and protein bean and loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants. You can find these little gems in most health-food stores.
B is for Broad Beans – these large and plump beans come from within a large pod and are slightly sweet and nutty in flavor. B is also for those cute little Black Eyed Peas which are actually a bean and kissing cousins to the little mung bean. Did you know that eating black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day is considered to be good luck? The black-eyed peas symbolize coins and the greens symbolize paper money. Wow we have a lot of B Beans! B is for Black Beans – These are beloved beans by many and eaten in soups, stew and chili.
C is for Cannelloni Beans – which are from Italy and are a creamy white color with a mild nutty flavor. When cooked they are soft and perfect for use in soups, baked beans and white chili. They are very similar to northern beans and navy beans. This bean is also perfect for Greens & Beans.
D is for Dwarf Beans – Drarf beans are a variety of mini green runner beans. They can be enjoyed steamed whole and pack a powerful punch of flavor and crunch.
E is for Edamame Beans – which are also known as soybeans. Edamame beans are high in fiber and protein and have become a staple snack food amongst celebrities who swear that they keep them slim and slender.
F is for Fava Bean – which is another name for the broad bean. Of course, another well known F for beans is the universally experienced flatulence that is created after consuming a big old bowl of beans. Also the Flageolet bean that is most common in France. This little green bean is also kidney shaped but green in color.
G is for Goa Beans – Goa beans are also known as winged beans and grow in most tropical climates. The entire bean is consumed when young as it is soft and tender at that point. Older beans are left to go to seed for the following years crops. G is also for the Great Northern Bean – Similar to the Navy Bean but a slightly larger bean. Another very mild bean that goes great in all soups and stews.
H is for Heinz Baked Beans – which are actually Haricot beans and also known as Haricot Vert which is a type of french green bean. Did you know that the Heinz company got its start in Pittsburgh, PA?
I is for – India. Did you know that India is the worlds second largest producer of beans? It is also famed for its lentil production too. I is also for indigestion, which you can get if you don’t cook some beans properly before eating them.
J is for Jack – the Jack bean is named after the namesake in jack and the beanstalk and is, in fact, a giant version of the humble broad bean. We could also say J is for Jellybeans, but they don’t really count.
K is for Kidney Beans – these are probably the best beans used for making chili. A serving of these will definitely fill you up as they are loaded with fiber. These beans are typically shaped like a kidney .. thus the name “kidney bean.” Red beans and rice and typically made with the common little kidney bean.
L is for Lima Beans – these are also known as butter beans due to their texture color, and flavor and can be commonly found adorning salad bowls the world over. Read our story on learning to love lima beans.
M is for Mung Beans – These are usually found throughout India and Myanmar and are a staple of the diet in these regions. It can also be turned into flour to make pasta and bread.
N is for Navy beans – Which are also known as haricot beans and are small and white in shape and size. These are what you will usually find in your can of baked beans. Many times these beans are called “white” beans. Navy beans make great soup beans.
O is for Oh Dear, there are no beans that begin with an O. However, you could say onions, which you should never grow in the same patch as beans.
P is for Pinto Beans – these are the ones that are world famous for being refried. This Mexican deli is pure perfection.
Q is for Queen Beans – Purple queen beans are a rich beetroot purple shade and stringless pods. The perfect summer salad bean which is as good raw as it is steamed.
R is for Runner Beans –These are possibly the most commonly grown bean of gardeners across the world. Runner beans provide plentiful supplies of sweet and delicious beans that are perfect for serving up with a roast dinner.
S is for Soy Beans – these are used as high protein sources for those on a vegan diet and also provide the base of the soy milk which can be found in all major stores around the world.
T is for Tevara Beans – Tevara Beans are also commonly referred to as green fillet beans from France and make a wonderful casserole bean.
U is for Urad Beans – which are also known as gram beans and used to make gram flour. These are also popular in Indian cooking and can be found in Daal.
V is for Velvet Beans – Velvet beans are found across the tropics from Asia into Africa and are usually boiled to use for mashing or using in salads.
W is for White Kidney Beans – Ok, so it is just another name for the kidney bean, but it also stands for weight loss, which white kidney beans are supposed to aid with as they help block the absorption of carbs.
Y is for – Yard Long Beans – the are long beans that produce masses of delicious and edible beans perfect for salads and stews.
Z is for Zip – While there are no beans to name that begin with the letter Z, the Zulus enjoy a meal of Samp and beans.
Red Beans: Kidney, Adzuki, Pinto, Navy, & Yard long.
White Beans: Cannelloni, Flagelot, Soy, Lima, Broad & Runner.
To Soak Beans or Not to Soak the Beans –
You do not need to soak your beans in water before cooking, but they will have a longer cook time once in the pot if you do not soak them.
If you want to soak your beans –
Rinse beans with cold water and pick out any hard or discolored pieces. Soak beans in a pot of water for 6-8 hours. We use a ratio of 3 cups of water for every one cup of beans.
Garbonzo and Kidney Beans 6-8 hours
Navy, Pinto and White Beans 3-4 hours
Yes, you can soak your beans overnight.
If you want to do a quick soaking of the beans –
Example: 1 cup of black beans, 6 cups of water, and 1 teaspoon of salt
Rinse beans. Place beans in a pot with water and salt. Bring to a light boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 3 minutes.
Cover; remove from heat and let beans sit for 1 hour. Use in your favorite bean recipes.