Sunday, February 22, 2009

Apple #371: Beans -- black beans

This is the first entry in a series of about Beans.


These might be my favorite. I like their flavor, and I like that they hold their shape even after they're heated up. They stay firm and don't get all mushy, so I feel like I'm really eating something when I have black beans. I like to mix them with some salsa and a dash or two of garlic salt and put them on toast with melted cheese on top. Lunch, cheap and easy and filling.

Black beans, dried
(Photo from Delia Online)

Same thing, from a can
(Photo from All Creatures Vegan - Vegetarian Recipe Book)

Categorized as:
  • Fruit.
  • The UN's FAO also classifies it as one of several pulses, which are several varieties of beans that are sold in dry form.
  • Species name Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean).
  • Originated in Peru, along with several other common beans like navy, kidney, pinto, etc.
  • In fact, all the beans that originated in Peru are members of the same species, Phaseolusvulgaris.

General facts:
  • Sometimes also called turtle beans.
  • Flavor similar to mushrooms, but a little smokier.
  • Ounce for ounce, black beans have the same amount of protein as beef.
  • They are as high in antioxidants as super-fruits like cranberries and grapes.
  • If you're going to use dry black beans, it's best if you can soak them for 2-4 hours before boiling. If you skip the soaking and go straight to boiling, they can get soft and mushy.

Next bean in the series: Pinto beans.

The World's Healthiest Foods, Black beans
Deana Gunn and Wona Miniati, "Black Beans: A Perfect Food,", Black Beans, Dried
USDA Plants Database, Classification Down to Family Fabaceae
FAO, Definition and Classification of Commodities, 4. Pulses and Derived Products
NationMaster, Encyclopedia, Pulses
Wikipedia, Fabaceae and pulses
Edhat Santa Barbara, Veggie of the Week - Shell Beans

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