EDIBLE BEANS serve as a nutritious food staple. Soluble dietary fiber averages 20% which is higher than oat bran levels. Along with the cereal grains, beans provide the highest levels of protein available in the Plant Kingdom. Many varieties are available for food products in dry, pre-cooked, canned and frozen forms. Varieties of edible beans raised in the northern Plains include:
NAVY BEANS -- A versatile white bean commonly used in canned products such as pork and beans and in dry bagged form. Navys are a favorite in soups and baked bean dishes.
PINTO BEANS -- A medium sized beige and brown dappled bean. Excellent for baking. Pintos are popular in chili, as refried beans and refried bean paste and in most Mexican foods.
DARK RED KIDNEY BEANS -- A large, dark red bean often cooked and canned as whole beans and used in canned chili products. These colorful beans add a splash of color to baked dishes and bean salads.
SMALL RED BEANS -- A smaller version of the Dark Red Kidney bean, these beans are interchangeable with kidney beans in any colored bean recipe.
LIGHT RED KIDNEY BEANS -- A large, light red bean often cooked or canned as whole beans for soups or salads. The color adds to baked dishes or bean salads.
BLACK TURTLE BEANS -- A small black bean usually available where Spanish and Oriental foods are sold. It is a staple in Black Turtle Bean Soup and Brazilian Bean Soup.
CRANBERRY BEANS -- The Cranberry bean has deep red slashes on a buff seed coat. It is a large-sized bean used in soups and salads.
PINK BEANS -- Beans of the Pink class are grown to supplement the supply of edible beans used in products such as canned chili and can be used as substitutes in recipes calling for Pinto beans. Pink beans are often served barbecue-style or cooked with spicy seasonings.
GREAT NORTHERN BEANS -- Similar in color but slightly larger in size than Navy beans, this variety is also good for baking. Great Northerns go well in baked bean recipes and casseroles and their delicate flavor makes them a good choice for salads.