Bean (haba) is a common name for large plant seeds of several genera of the family Fabaceae or Leguminosae which are used for human or animal food.
Bean is now applied generally to many other related plants such as Soy Beans, peas, chickpeas, vetches, and lupins. Bean is sometimes used as a synonym of pulse, an edible legume, though the term pulses is more correctly reserved for leguminous crops harvested for their dry grain. Leguminous crops harvested green for food, such as snap peas and snow peas, are not considered beans, and are classified as vegetable crops.
The word Bean is also sometimes used to refer to the seeds or pods of plants that are not in the legume family, but which bear a superficial resemblance to true Beans, such as Coffee Beans, Castor Beans, Cocoa Beans and Vanilla Beans, which resemble Bean pods.
Beans are a summer crop that need warm temperatures to grow. Maturity is typically 55–60 days from planting to harvest. As the Bean pods mature, they turn yellow and dry up, and the Beans inside change from green to their mature colour.
Some raw Beans contain a harmful tasteless toxin that must be removed by cooking. Red and Kidney Beans are particularly toxic, but other types also pose risks of food poisoning. A recommended method is to boil the Beans for at least ten minutes; undercooked Beans may be more toxic than raw Beans. Cooking Beans, without bringing them to the boil, for example in a slow cooker at a temperature well below boiling, may not destroy the toxins.
Many edible Beans, including Broad Beans and Soy Beans, contain a type of sugar molecule also found in cabbage. An enzyme is necessary to properly digest these sugar molecules and this digestion process produces flatulence-causing gases. As sugar dissolves in water, another method of reducing flatulence associated with eating Beans is to drain the water in which the Beans have been cooked. The most well-known Beans are Runner Beans and Broad Beans which are normally just boiled before eating, although the Spanish love young Broad Beans eaten raw.
Baked Beans are known on occasion to cause a considerable increase in flatulence. Baked Beans is a dish containing beans, sometimes baked but, despite the name, usually stewed, in a sauce. Most canned Baked Beans are made from Haricot Beans, in a tomato and sugar sauce, often used as part of a full English breakfast. They can be eaten hot or cold straight from the can as they are fully cooked. The British Dietetic Association allows Baked Beans to be advertised as contributing to the recommended daily consumption of 5-6 vegetables per person. It has been proven that consumption of Baked Beans lowers cholesterol levels.
Pinto Beans are a light brown Bean with red streaks. Regardless of their beige colour, whenever cooked, the Beans turn brownish pink and are a high-quality yet economical source of protein. The Pinto Beans are a versatile addition to tasty dishes, such as burritos or chilli and are found in a lot of Spanish dishes, especially soup.