Posted on January 5, 2014
Long bright green beans? Dark red kidney beans? Pinto beans smashed and refried with chiles?
According to the United Nations, only members of the Phaseolus genus should be called beans. So that includes string beans, runner beans, lima beans, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, green beans, and more. But some people consider any member of the legume family as beans. Using that definition, we can include mung beans, soy beans, fava beans, peanuts, black-eyed peas, chick peas, and split peas, and lentils. Even though we use the word beans, nobody includes coffee “beans,” cacao “beans,” or vanilla “beans” in the bean group.
What good are beans?
Actually, in addition to being tasty, beans provide important things like fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates, folate, B vitamins, and iron. So they are a great part of a healthy diet!
- Consumers can buy dry beans, canned beans, frozen beans, and fresh beans.
- North Dakota is the top producer of dry beans in the U.S. – producing almost a third of the total! (Thirty states grow dry edible beans.)
- Pinto beans are the most popular dry beans in the U.S.
- Beans came from the New World and were first deliberately grown in Central and South America. Brazil and Mexico are still among the top producers in the world, and Latin America is still the largest producer by region. India is one of the top producers of dry beans, and China and Indonesia are the world leaders in the production of green beans.
- Many people who live in the tropics eat at least one bowl of beans every single day, beans are such a staple for South American and African people.
To celebrate Bean Day....well, you know what to do! Cook 'em, eat 'em, count 'em, craft with 'em!
Here are seven kid-tested bean recipes.
Create some bean bags and play a bean bag toss game.
Make a beanmosaic using various sizes, shapes, and colors of beans.
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