Saturday, November 15, 2014


I decided a while back, before I had my throat cut, that I would do a series about vegetables.  I had this one in draft form so thought it time I posted it.  I am not sure whether the correct date will come out or not but hope it does.

There is such a large variety of bean, many of which I know about and also enjoy.

BEANS:  Bean is a common name for large plant seeds used for human food or animal feed of several genera of the family Fabaceae (alternately Leguminosae).

Runner beans, scarlet runner beans or multiflora beans are plants grown both as food plants or ornamental plants.   We currently have beans planted but they are dwarf beans as runner beans take up too much room.  I am particularly fond of green beans, cooked or tinned.

We have tried scarlet runners but the weather in Perth is too hot for them.   I was disappointed as they are so colourful with their bright red flowers and the red beans.  Multiflora is a new one on me but I would I imagine it relates to the flowers or even the seeds being of assorted colours.  Apparently runner beans contain traces of the poisonous lectin, found in common beans.  Runner beans for sale on a market stall:

Broad beans.    Vicia faba, also known as broad beans, fava beans, faba beans, field beans, bell beans or tic beans.  They are native to North Africa, southwest and south Asia, and are extensively cultivated in many parts of the world.

We currently have these growing and they are showing flowers so hopefully not too long before we are picking and eating broad beans.  We both really enjoy them but we try not to eat too many as they can be quite fattening and contain a large amount of carbohydrate, so smallish servings a couple of times a week.   They can be served hot or cold as a salad dish.  I prefer them hot.

Mung beans are used a lot in Asian cooking and can also be made into a paste.  I've used them in stir fries in the past and also eaten them as bean sprouts which are enjoyable with salads and are said to be very good for us. 

Kidney beans are used in many chilli dishes, parricularly in chilli con carne. These are a bean that are very poisonous when raw as they contain lectin phytohaimagglutinin that must be removed before cooking.  It is recommended that these beans be boiled for at least ten minutes.   Cooking them in a slow cooker cannot guarantee all the toxin will be removed.

It is said that as kidney beans are loaded with potassium and magnesium, they help keep blood pressure in check, while their high fiber content helps reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, fighting off heart disease.  They are also rich in iron and protein, which makes them a great meat substitute for vegetarians.  According to Janet Bond Brill they also contain disease-fighting antioxidants.  Half a cup of these beans cooked contains 112 calories.

There are so many bean varieties used in cooking or in salads and I would imagine most people are familiar with cannellini beans, borlotti beans, chick peas, lima beans, haricot beans, pinto beans, and black eyed peas.  The list goes on and on and I am sure there are plenty more that could be added to this list.

I feel perhaps it best to make this part B(a) and include others in part B(b) as I have at least another six "B" vegies I'd like to talk about.


  1. Hari OM
    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmalicious!!! Being a vego, you are talking some of my most 'fava'rite things right here &*> Had rajma (kidney beans) yesterday in fact.....yummyummyummy.... YAM xx

    1. I am sure you enjoy most vegies. I know we do. I can't really think of any I won't eat. They are so good for us too. xx

  2. Like Yamini, I am a vegetarian - and love beans. My mama told me I couldn't be a vegetarian because I don't like sprouts - but she was wrong (and her boiling the sprouts to a grey mush might explain some of that dislike).

    1. Yes, I know you are vegetarian but I have never been able to go without a small helping of meat or fish but prefer my vegetables whether or cooked or salad more than anything.
      I cook my sprouts in the microwave and they retain their crispness and flavour. We both love them and I am glad as they are very good for us. In winter we eat them nearly every day when they are available. My daughter hates them but I don't think we could buy them years ago so she probably never had to eat them. The best we ever tasted were some we bought when holidaying in New Zealand. It think their climate is very suitable for growing sprouts as it is so much colder.

  3. I like green beans and often plant bush beans, the plants stay smallish but are very prolific, a meal's worth of beans at every picking. I remember one year I blanched and froze about a dozen bags of beans and had enough all winter. I don't like broad beans or chick peas, but I use some of the others you mention in lovely thick soups in winter.

    1. We have bush beans growing now and they are looking good. We also have broad beans and we should be eating them soon. I am looking to find a recipe for broad bean salad for the warmer weather. Most beans are great in soups and one of Phil's favourites is minestrone. We eat 4 bean mix in summer but that contains chick peas so not for you.

  4. I buy 4 bean mix because that is all that's available now, I used to buy 3 bean mix, without the chick peas. Now with the 4 bean mix, I empty them into a wide dish and pick out the chick peas. I let them dry and throw them out to the birds.