Dried Legumes

Commonly referred to as beans or peas, legumes are the dried seeds of pod-bearing plants.  Legumes are considered to be a staple food to many cuisines throughout the world.  Legumes become drier and harder and require longer cooking times as they age, so they are best if used within six months of purchase.  When purchasing legumes, look for beans/peas that are bright and shiny and free of dust or mold.  They should always be rinsed before preparing to remove any foreign, inedible debris.  Discard any beans or peas that appear moldy, damp, or wrinkled.

Adzuki beans are small, reddish-brown, and available whole or powdered.  They are popular in Japanese cuisine.  They are used in confections as a sweet paste or sugar-coated.  They are also used in savory dished.

Black (turtle) beans are large with a black exterior and a light creamy interior.  They have a sweet flavor.  They are used in soups, stews, salsas, salads, and side dishes.

Canary beans are slightly smaller than pinto beans with a canary yellow color.  They are popular in Peruvian dishes, specifically stews.

Cannellini (Italian Kidney) beans are medium, kidney-shaped beans that are white and have a nutty flavor.  They are used in minestrone soup, salads, stews, and side dishes.

Cranberry beans are small and round with maroon markings.  They have a nutty flavor.  They are used in soups, stews, salads, and side dishes.

Fava (broad) beans are large, flat, oval, and tan.  They are popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines.  They are used in falafel, soups, stews, salads, and side dishes.

Flageolets are small kidney-shaped beans that are pale green to creamy white.  They are served with lamb or braised and pureed as a side dish.

Garbanzo (Chickpeas) beans are medium, acorn-shaped, beige beans with a nutty flavor.  They are popular in many ethnic dishes.  They are used in couscous, hummus, soups, stews, salads, and side dishes.

Great Northern beans are large, slightly rounded, white beans with a mildly delicate flavor.  They are used in soups, stews, casseroles, and side dishes.

Kidney beans are medium, kidney-shape, pink to maroon beans with a full-bodied flavor.  They are used in chili con carne, refried beans, beans and rice, soups, stews, casseroles, and side dishes.

Lentils are small, round beans.  Some varieties are French (grayish exterior with pale interior), Egyptian, red, and yellow.  They are served as an accompaniment, whole or pureed.  They are also used in soups, stews, salads, and side dishes.

Lima (butter) beans are medium, slightly kidney-shaped, white to pale green bean with a buttery taste.  They are used in succotash, soups, stews, salads, and side dishes.

Mung beans are small, round, and green.  They are sprouted for bean sprouts.  They can be ground into flour to make cellophane noodles and bean threads.

Navy (Yankee) beans are small, round, and white.  They are used in baked beans, chili, soups, and salads.

Pinto (Red Mexican) beans are medium, kidney-shaped beans that are beige with brown streaks.  They are used in chili, refried beans, stews, and soups.

Rice beans are heirloom beans.  The plump grains resemble rice.  They have a slightly bitter taste.  Some of the varieties are white, brown, Falcon, green, and Mocasin.  They can be substituted for rice.  They are also used in soups, salads, stews, casseroles, and side dishes.

Soybeans are small, pea-shaped beans that have a bland flavor.  Some of the colors include red, yellow, green, brown, and black.  They are used in soups, stews, casseroles, and side dishes.

Black-eyed peas are small, kidney-shaped peas that are beige with a black “eye.”  They are used in soups and side dishes.

Pigeon (Gandoles) peas are heirloom peas.  They are small, nearly round, and beige with orange spotting.  They are popular in African, Caribbean, and Indian dishes.

Split peas are small, round, split, and dried.  They can be green or yellow and have an earthy flavor.  They are used in soups, salads, and side dishes.


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