Different Bean Plants For The Garden
The different bean plant species are widely distributed throughout the world. There are many kinds of bean plants, which vary in size and shape. Some of them have small pods; others have large pods with a flat top like a bell or a long stem. Some beans are edible while other ones are not good to eat at all (see table).
Table showing some of the differences between various bean plant species.
Common Names: Common names include but are not limited to: yellow, red, white, black, purple and other colors.
Origin: Beans originated from Central Asia and South America. They were domesticated in China thousands of years ago and spread through Southeast Asia over time until they reached India around 5000 BC. Today there are two main groups of beans – wild and cultivated. Wild beans come from all parts of the world including Africa, Australia, Europe and North America.
Cultivated beans are grown mainly in China, India and Pakistan.
Size: Smaller than most other crops such as peas or lentils.
Color: Most common beans are yellowish-white except for kidneybeans which turn reddish-purple when cooked. Other colorings may occur in dried bean products such as soups or sauces.
Flavor: Most types of dry beans have a bland flavor and a mealy texture. They are usually served with some type of flavoring such as onion, garlic, meats or vegetables.
Availability: Beans are available all year around but more popular in colder months when other fresh vegetables are not readily available.
The best beans will be whole and uniform in color.
The beans should be free of dirt and insects.
The beans should not have any foul odor.
Uncooked beans can be stored for up to one year if kept in a dry, dark place at about room temperature.
Cooked beans can be stored for up to one week if refrigerated and for up to three months if frozen.
Preparing: Beans can be prepared by boiling them in water for 5-10 minutes and then draining the water.
All types of dry beans need to be soaked in water overnight or at least 8 hours before cooking except for lentils and split peas which only need to be soaked for 2-3 hours.
Dried beans should be boiled until they are soft and no longer crunchy.
Storing: Beans can be bought in bulk or in bags and stored for months in the cupboard or freezer and should be used within a year of purchase. Beans should not stay fresh in the fridge for more than a week.
Do not eat beans that are discolored, have shriveled or cracked pods or feel excessively light weight.
Beans are known to contain a toxin so it is important to never eat raw beans of any kind.
Do not eat beans if they smell rotten or have an odd odor.
Do not eat raw or undercooked beans of any kind as they may contain a toxin that can cause extreme nausea and stomach pain.
Beans are a good source of protein.
The National Kidney Foundation recommends that kidney patients consume only 1/3 cup of beans per day and should always drink six to eight glasses of water per day while consuming beans.
Sources & references used in this article:
Garden bean named ‘10417’ by RJ Gehin – US Patent 6,211,444, 2001 – Google Patents
Garden bean named 206999 by DS Magnuson – US Patent 6,201,170, 2001 – Google Patents
Garden bean named ‘211945’ by DS Magnuson – US Patent 6,924,419, 2005 – Google Patents
Garden bean cultivar H25101 by R Gehin – US Patent 7,645,924, 2010 – Google Patents
Garden bean named ‘210944’ by DS Magnuson – US Patent 6,835,876, 2004 – Google Patents