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The Organized CookBeans Guideline
The selection of beans available run the gamut - from A to Y. Characteristics are different, from taste and color to texture and consistency. Choose your beans well to augment any dish.
Selecting beans can be challenging as the variety available is really large. The following guide will help you recognize the characteristics of each sort of bean so that you can make conscious and appropriate choices.
Adzuki Beans are small, reddish-brown beans used primarily as a dry bean or for sprouts. Since they have a sweeter taste than most beans, adzuki beans are sometimes used in desserts. They are also cooked with rice, their bright color tint the rice into an attractive pink. Dried adzuki beans require only a short soaking (1hour) before cooking.
Similar to Great Northern in flavor and cooking, but smaller, more pea like. Before cooking, soak navy beans for eight hours and then cook, pressure-cook, or bake them. 1 cup dried beans makes approximately 3 cups cooked beans.
Lentils are one of the few legumes not to presoak. They cook in about 30 minutes without soaking. Brown lentils are plumper but smaller then green lentils with a more earthy flavor and assertive taste.
Green Split Peas
Green split peas are dried and split form of garden peas. They have an advantage over dried beans: they are as nutritious as beans, but they do not need to be soaked before they are cooked.
Yellow Split Peas
Like the green split peas, they do not need to be soaked prior to cooking. They have a earthier flavor than green split peas.
Mung Beans are the most widely consumed sprout on our planet! Mung Bean has green skin and is also called Green Bean in China. These beans don’t need pre-soaking and are a snap to cook to butter-soft consistency if you have a pressure cooker. They can also be cooked in a slow cooker or on the stovetop.
Black Eyed Beans
Black eyed beans have a pea like flavor and are high in soluble fiber. Many people cook these legumes at New Years for luck in the New Year.
Garbanzo Beans are also known as chick peas. This bean needs long soaking and cooking. It’s delicious nutlike taste and buttery texture makes delicious hummus.
Also known as Butter beans, Lima bean is named after Lima, Peru. It cooks rapidly without soaking, creating a sweet tasting bean with a rich, buttery and distinctive flavor and a creamy texture.
Typically yellow or white, these are mature beans that have ripened in the soybean pod into dry, hard beans. Like all dried beans, you will need to soak them at least eight hours before cooking the traditional way or in a pressure cooker. Soybeans may never become quite as soft or tender as other beans. They may remain somewhat crunchy.
These beans are loved for their mildly sweet flavor and are loaded with nutrients and we’d probably eat more of them if they weren’t also loaded with flatulence-producing enzymes.
White Kidney Beans
Also called flageolets, their popularity can be attributed to their full-bodied flavor. The taste of the White kidney bean is more delicate than the red and is thus used in salads and other dishes where the more pronounced flavor of the red kidney bean would be a distraction.
Small Red Beans
Small red beans are a little bigger that a pea. They are used in Mexican recipes like red beans and rice. Small red beans are very popular and delicious in S. Louisiana cooking.
Cannellini beans are the traditional white beans used in Italian cooking. They have a smooth texture and nutty flavor. This versatile bean can be used interchangeably with other white beans such as white kidney bean.
Black beans are commonly referred to as turtle beans, probably in reference to their shiny, dark, shell-like appearance. Along with a rich smoky flavor that has been compared to mushrooms, black beans have a velvety texture, yet hold their shape well during cooking.
Pinto Beans are similar in taste and texture to kidney beans and can substitute for kidney or cranberry beans in all recipes. Used in many Mexican and Latin American recipes. Pinto beans are also good for beans and rice, chili and stews.
Great Northern is one of the most popular legumes. Its bland flavor is excellent base for distinctive herbs and seasonings. Very popular in France for making cassoult (a white bean casserole) and in the whole Mediterranean where many beans of a similar appearance are cultivated.