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Know your Kidney bean

Know your Kidney bean - Introduction  

  • The kidney bean (aka red bean, chili bean) with its dark red skin is named for its visual resemblance to a kidney. 
  • The kidney bean is also known as the red bean, although this usage can cause confusion with other red beans. 

Know your Kidney bean - Cuisine

  • Characterized by strong colour and flavour, the red kidney bean is a versatile kidney shaped bean which can be used in a variety of hot and cold recipes. 
  • Soak overnight before cooking these beans. 
  • After soaking rinse first and then boil briskly for 10 minutes. 
  • Simmer for 30-40 minutes until soft and tender, making sure that the bean is fully cooked.
  • Red kidney beans (rājmā in Hindi and Punjabi) are an integral part of the cuisine in northern region of India. 
  • Red kidney beans are exclusively used in New Orleans and much of southern Louisiana for the classic Monday Creole dish of red beans and rice. 
  • They are a common ingredient in chili con carne. 
  • Kidney beans have a slightly sweet flavour and a soft texture when cooked. 
  • They’re very versatile and can be used in a wide array of dishes, including chili, refried beans, and cold salads. 
  • Unlike some brightly coloured beans, kidney beans retain their dark red color with cooking. 
  • Kidney beans need to soak for five or six hours before simmering.

Know your Kidney bean - Nutrition

  • Kidney beans are a good source of folate (vitamin B9), dietary fibre and manganese. 
  • A cup of cooked kidney beans provides 45.3% of the recommended daily intake for fibre. 
  • Kidney beans high fibre content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycaemia.

Know your Kidney bean - Varieties

Borlotti bean

  • The Borlotti bean also known as roman beans or romano beans (not to be confused with Italian flat beans, a green bean also called "romano bean"), are a variety of cranberry bean bred in Italy to have a thicker skin. 
  • It is very popular in Italian, Portuguese and Turkish cuisine.

Borlotti Varieties

  • 'Lingua di Fuoco' -a climbing borlotti bean with speckled seeds and showy pods

Cannellini bean

  • Cannellini beans are a variety of white beans popular in Central and Southern Italy, particularly in Tuscany. Other names for the bean include white kidney bean and fazolia bean. They are similar to white navy beans or haricots, as they are known in Britain. 

  • These large white beans are often mistaken for great northern beans, as the two are so alike in appearance.
  • Before cooking, cannellini beans must be thoroughly rinsed. When cooked, the cannellini bean is fluffy and creamy. They are typically known for their smooth texture and nutty flavour. In recipes that call for the beans, substitutions can be made with great northern or white navy beans.
  • In Tuscany, the beans are often eaten dried instead of cooked. In other parts of Italy, the beans are a popular accompaniment to tuna and pasta dishes containing poultry. 
  • In the United States, vegetarians often utilize the hearty beans as a fish or chicken substitute. They can be found throughout America and Britain in minestrone soups and various bean salads.
  • Cannellini beans are available in supermarkets in both dried and canned form. 
  • They can be purchased year round in most parts of the world. They should be evenly coloured and shiny, with a slight off-white colour. As with most other beans, they should be stored in an airtight glass container to preserve them.
  • An excellent source of iron, magnesium, and folate, a single serving of cannellini beans provides more than 20 percent of the recommended daily values of these nutrients. They are also a good source of protein, providing more than 15 grams per serving. Other nutritional benefits include their low fat content and calorie count. Each serving contains only 225 calories and less than one gram of fat.
  • To prepare cannellini beans, they must be rinsed and soaked overnight. 
  • They can be cooked in a pressure cooker for 15-20 minutes, or boiled on the stove top for 2-3 hours. 
  • One cup of dried beans yields approximately three cups of cooked beans. 
  • After initial preparation, they can be added to soups and stews, served seasoned with salt and pepper, or pureed and used as a spread on crackers and sandwiches. They can also be used to make a white bean chili.

Caparrón bean

  • Caparrones is a Spanish stew made of caparrón, a variety of red kidney bean, and a spicy sausage chorizo, both of which are local specialties of the Spanish La Rioja region. 
  • The shape of the caparrón bean is shorter and rounder than common red kidney beans. 
  • The stew is regarded one of the most important dishes in Riojan cooking.
  • Its cultural importance in the region can be compared to Asturian fabada
  • Caparrones are associated with strength, as well as with flatulence. 
  • There are some restaurants and inns in La Rioja that take this name (Mesón los Caparrones, etc.).
  • This plant is widely cultivated in groves around La Rioja, and the most famous are from Anguiano. 
  • Rods obtained from branches of trees like poplar or bushes like elder and used for guiding the plant's growth are called palos de caparrón (caparrón staves). 
  • These staves are saved from one year to another tied in bunches called gavillas
  • There are also some varieties of caparrones called sin palo (without a stave) because they do not grow very tall and so do not require artificial support.

Cranberry bean

  • Cranberry beans originated in Colombia as the cargamanto
  • The bean is a medium large tan or hazelnut-colored bean, splashed with red/black to magenta streaks.

  • It is very popular in Italian, Portuguese and Turkish cuisine.
  • Pinto beans look the same as cranberry and borlotti beans, but differ in taste.
  • Cranberry beans have a mild, nutty flavour reminiscent of chestnuts. 
  • They absorb other flavours readily and are popular in Northern Italian cuisine. 
  • Unfortunately, they lose their beautiful red colour through the cooking process. 
  • They need to soak for at least four hours before cooking.

Dark red Kidney bean

  • The smaller, darker red beans are used in Chili con carne, particularly in the USA with Louisiana families having a recent Caribbean heritage. 
  • Some say they have a smoother taste.

Mexican Red bean

  • Mexican Red beans have a mild taste and a smooth texture. 
  • Small red beans are similar to red kidney beans, except that they are smaller in size, and, in the opinions of some, their flavour is slightly different.
  • Small red beans are also called Mexican Red Beans.  
  • They hold their shape and firmness when cooked.  
  • Small red beans can be used in soups, salads, chili and Creole dishes.   
  • As their name implies, these beans are often part of Mexican dishes. 
  • They need to soak for at least four hours.

Yin Yang bean

  • Yin Yang's delicious pods can be eaten young as green beans or left to dry, revealing stunning black and white beans which can be cooked in soups and casseroles.