Various Beans Part 2
are oval, flat, mottled, brown beans and the largest member in the Cranberry family. This bean originated in South America and was taken to Portugal, where it was adopted for national dishes. It was then taken to the US by Portuguese and Italian immigrants. This bean has a floury texture and a chestnut-like flavour. Though smaller, the cranberry or scarlet runner bean is acceptable substitutes in recipes.
is the roundest of the white beans and has a distinctive flavour.
Mostoller wild goose bean
is a very large bean that is white on the bottom and heavily speckled with brown and maroon with an orange patch around the “eye”. The story is told of Civil War veteran, John Mostoller, who is said to have shot down a wild goose that had these beans in its craw. It is now very well-known among heirloom seed savers. The bean was planted in 1866 and has been preserved ever since by the same family.
Moth bean, mat bean (Vigna aconitifolius)
is harvested when the pods are fully ripe. The pods can contain four to nine small seeds. Indigenous to India, it is the most drought-resistant species of bean and the basis of many of the national dishes in India.
Mortgage lifter bean
is an extremely large, white, heirloom variety that tastes similar to the butter bean. The name came as a result of a farmer who was about to lose his land to the bank, but instead, had a good crop of these beans, which lifted his mortgage.
Munsi wolf bean is an heirloom variety, originally grown by the Lenape Indians of Delaware Water Gap. It is also known as the speckled minisink bean.
is a New World bean also known as “popping bean”. It can be popped like popcorn, doubling in size and yielding a bean with a roasted nut flavour and a snack that is very high in fiber and protein, and having less oil than peanuts. Some say it has a sweet “Cracker Jacks” flavour, while others think they are more like peanuts. This bean thrives in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. It ranges in colour from purple to gold to cream while some are speckled. However, it does not seem to be able to pop at lower elevations and scientists are trying to find out why.
Painted pony bean
is similar to the appaloosa bean in that it also has markings similar to those of a pony. It is also related to the pinto bean. Of Mexican origin, this bean is slender and oval. Its colouring shades from cream and beige all the way to brown and black. Rich and nutty in flavour, it is excellent in chili or other slow-cooked bean dishes.
Pink bean, pinquito bean
is an heirloom variety. It is smaller and not as square as the pinto and less uniform in size and colour. It resembles the shape of the small red bean and can be used interchangeably with it. The pink bean has a sweet, rich, meaty flavour with a slight mealy textrue, quite similar to the pinto bean.
Princess bean is a short-podded bush bean that is picked young. It is stringless and contains only small thin seeds, making it ideal for canning.
is so named because their pods twist around like snakes as they grow. This slender, oval bean is speckled brown over a tan background, and is closely related to the pinto bean. Its flavour is richer and more intense than the pinto, making it an excellent choice for bean dishes.
Red valentine bean
has six-inch, narrow pods, making it an ideal substitute for green beans. This bean is heavily speckled in deep-wine red over a pink background. In Germany, it is called Turkish date beans; and, when dried, is called “one-thousand-for-one” or purple-speckled valentine or refugee bean.
Rice bean (Vigna umbellata)
is so small, it is the size of a grain of rice and used as a substitute for that grain. Originally from Asia, the rice bean is also grown in Africa and the northeast part of India and adjoining regions to the east. It ranges in colour from yellow to red to brown and black. It has a delicate flavour, soft texture, and is highly nutritious. Since it grows like vines, the seed pods tend to open on their own, scattering the very tiny seeds and making harvest very difficult. Because of their rapid growth, the rice bean ripens between one rice harvest and the sowing of the next.
Rosecoco bean, borlotti, salugia, crab-eye bean
is very similar to the pinto bean. Therefore, the two can be substituted for each other. Both are kidney-shaped with a deep pink skin that is flecked with beige and brown. They originated in South America, where it is still a common practice to cook a large pot of them and then reheat them in smaller amounts. It is for this reason, that Latin Americans call them “frijoles refritas”, reawakening beans.
Sa-Taw bean (Parkia speciosa)
is native to the Malay archipelago and has a fairly restricted area of growth and use. When it is eaten, it is appreciated for its characteristic lemony flavour. The mix of sour and sweet is unlike any other legume. When young, the pod and all are eaten, by adding them to stir fries. Later, as the pods grow larger and begin to twist in shape, they become too tough for eating, and the seeds are removed from the pods. The outer skin must also be removed from the seeds as with broad beans. The sa-taw bean does look like a tropical version of the broad bean, although the seeds themselves are more prominently seen through the pod. These beans are available in cans from oriental markets and labelled “Peteh Asin”.
Soldier bean, red-eye bean
is an heirloom variety grown in Maine and other parts of the cooler climate of the US. It is distinguished by the splashes of colour in the shape of a soldier’s silhouette at the eye or hilum. It is chalk white and kidney-shaped and an interesting member of the white bean family.
Spanish Tolosana bean
is also known as the prince bean in Spain, where it is very popular. With distinctive cinnamon and burgundy markings, this bean has a creamy texture.
Stinky-bean (Parkia speciosa)
is one of at least five species of this genus cultivated in Asia and Africa. The tree grows to over sixty feet in height providing useful shade. The pods, which can grow up to seventeen inches long, are animal fodder, while the seeds are used as a vegetable and condiment. The best known species is Parkia filicoidea, the African locust bean, cultivated mainly in Nigeria for its edible fruits and seeds.
Swedish brown bean
is not really a white bean, but its cooking properties are similar. It is a hardy bush bean, light, toasty brown in colour and has adapted well to Northern climates. It was introduced into Montana by Swedish immigrants in the late 1800s, and thus might fall into the category of imported beans rather than New World. It has been a staple in Swedish cooking and continues to be popular in Sweden because of its early maturity before the frost. When cooked, it turns a honey brown producing a rich, slightly sweet flavour.
is a large white bean cultivated in southwestern France and named for the city of Tarbes. It is rather expensive, but available, in the US. Traditionally used to make the regional masterpiece, cassoulet, this bean holds its shape very well. It also has a mild flavour and a creamy, smooth texture; but because ofits large size, it requires long periods of soaking and cooking.
Tepary bean (Phaseolus acutifolius)
resembles the great northern bean, but the colour varies from white to brown. However, it can be used in place of any white bean. It is a New World variety, especially adapted to desert conditions and not commonly found. It is quick-growing, with long roots that can reach any moisture in the ground. It is grown as a minor food crop in arid areas of Arizona and Guatemala. Because of its ability to produce a quick high-protein crop, more interest is being shown in it. This bean is difficult to harvest because the pods tend to split open, scattering the small seeds. The tepary bean was probably cultivated by Mexican Indians near Tehuacán roughly 5,000 years ago. It reached Europe as an archaeological speciman in 1888, part of an exhibit of materials excavated from the Los Muertos prehistoric site in Arizona.
Tongues of fire bean
is a close relative of the cranberry bean and originally grown from a seed variety collected from Tierra del Fuego, on the tip of South America. It found its way to Italy, where it and other borlotto-type beans became extremely popular. The pods are ivory-white, turning to red flames as they mature. It is a good baking bean and goes well with spicy dishes.
is also known as Jacob’s cattle bean, coach bean, and Dalmatian bean. It is white and maroon-spotted heirloom tepary bean that does resemble the Dalmatian dogs or cattle. Originally brought to the US from Germany, where it was called Torellen, the trout bean has been grown in New England since colonial times. This bean is also suited to desert climates; and, like other tepary beans, it has a relatively short growing season. When cooked, it develops a velvety texture.
is an heirloom variety, also known as the amethyst bean. White with dark streaks that resemble the markings of a zebra, this bean is highly prized, especially in Spain, for its superior creamy texture and full-bodied flavour.
See also Various Beans Part 1