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SpaghettiWestern

Question about dried bean varieties

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I eat ALOT of beans. they make up most of my meals except when i am eating BBQ.

what i want to know is...... what are the taste and texture difference between kidney beans.... runner beans....pinto type beans etc.

i keep hearing that kidney beans and pinto beans are 2 different families.

i eat mostly pinto type beans and have only had kidney beans from a can.

before i waste time making a pot of good dried kidney beans.... can someone tell me

what the differences will be from the pinto bean?

i dont want a bean that has a potato flavor. i have heard that some beans have a taste like that.

can anyone help?

thanks

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Except when you are eating BBQ? :) That is one time when they will be on my menu for sure.:) It is pretty hard to explain in words how one bean is different than another. In my opinion, canned beans that have been rinsed and heated taste pretty much like ones cooked from dried. If you taste then from a can, you can tell if you want to cook the dried kind. In order to cook dried beans, most people soak them overnight but it isn't necessary to go to that much planning or to take that much time and trouble. Kidney beans can be cooked directly from dried to finished in a little under a hour and a half in most cases. You probably already know that the older the dried bean, the longer it may take to cook through.

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While some beans do have a "potato" flavor, please note that this is not the flavor of plain potatoes.

Think of the best potato you ever tasted and multiply it by a factor of four or more. It is not just a potato flavor, but a complex, rich flavor with a buttery hint that is excellent in plain bean soup and which marries well with rice.

If you limit your selection of beans to kidney and pinto, you are missing out on a lot of great flavors.

Some beans have a "meaty" flavor, some have a buttery consistency, such as the "speckled butter bean" a great favorite in the south, also known as the "Florida" butter bean.

For years they were difficult to find outside the south (a lima bean was a poor substitute) but now several online vendors carry them.

I consume a fair amount of beans and always have at least five or six varieties (or more) on hand.

Read the info at Rancho Gordo's website for each variety of bean.

There has been extensive discussion on this forum in earlier threads.

I recommend the Good Mother Stallard and the Snowcap beans - don't let the "potato flavor" put you off.

Another online vendor with excellent products is Purcell Mountain Farms

Unfortunately, when the bean picking season ends, sometimes the supply of a certain variety is limited and they go rapidly because some people (like me) have been waiting and order as soon as they appear.

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In my opinion, canned beans that have been rinsed and heated taste pretty much like ones cooked from dried.

I'm not sure I can agree with this.

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Except when you are eating BBQ? :) That is one time when they will be on my menu for sure.:) It is pretty hard to explain in words how one bean is different than another. In my opinion, canned beans that have been rinsed and heated taste pretty much like ones cooked from dried. If you taste then from a can, you can tell if you want to cook the dried kind. In order to cook dried beans, most people soak them overnight but it isn't necessary to go to that much planning or to take that much time and trouble. Kidney beans can be cooked directly from dried to finished in a little under a hour and a half in most cases. You probably already know that the older the dried bean, the longer it may take to cook through.

yes Norm.... i dont eat beans with BBQ because they are a meal in themselves.... and one distracts from the other.

i have eaten beans with BBQ but prefer not to. to me... beans are not a side dish. lol

thanks for you comments.

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While some beans do have a "potato" flavor, please note that this is not the flavor of plain potatoes.

Think of the best potato you ever tasted and multiply it by a factor of four or more. It is not just a potato flavor, but a complex, rich flavor with a buttery hint that is excellent in plain bean soup and which marries well with rice.

If you limit your selection of beans to kidney and pinto, you are missing out on a lot of great flavors.

Some beans have a "meaty" flavor, some have a buttery consistency, such as the "speckled butter bean" a great favorite in the south, also known as the "Florida" butter bean.

For years they were difficult to find outside the south (a lima bean was a poor substitute) but now several online vendors carry them.

I consume a fair amount of beans and always have at least five or six varieties (or more) on hand.

Read the info at Rancho Gordo's website for each variety of bean.

There has been extensive discussion on this forum in earlier threads.

I recommend the Good Mother Stallard and the Snowcap beans - don't let the "potato flavor" put you off.

Another online vendor with excellent products is Purcell Mountain Farms

Unfortunately, when the bean picking season ends, sometimes the supply of a certain variety is limited and they go rapidly because some people (like me) have been waiting and order as soon as they appear.

Hi thanks for your comments. i have had good mother stollard and others like that.

i love the rancho gordo beans i didnt know about the other website.

the reason i was asking about the flavor of kidney beans is because the black turtle beans look so good.... i was wondering how their flavor differed from pinto beans.

thanks for the information.

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Kidney beans are probably my least favorite of all beans I've tried and it's largely for textural reasons. I don't pick them out of anything but they never make it into the pot if I'm cooking. Pinto beans I love. The taste and the texture. Black beans are tasty too but it's a bit of generic term, there are several types with their own characteristics. Actually, I've never had a bean I dislike (although they seem to dislike me and usually cause me and those around me a bit more discomfort than I would like :laugh: ) but some fall further down the list than others. I currently have a bag of dried adzuki beans I was gifted that I'm trying to decide what to do with. I want to bypass the traditional sweet stuff and do something savory but haven't made up my mind what I'm going to do yet.

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My great-aunt used to say a meal with no beans is not a meal. I think that might be overstating the case, but I do have them three or four times a week.

Black ("turtle"), pinto, flor de mayo, flor de junio and peruano ("Peruvian") are the common ones here. I'm also passingly familiar with the kidney, navy and black-eyed sorts, as well as lima beans, soybeans etc. which are treated quite differently.

I think there's quite a bit of difference between these varieties. Taking pinto as a baseline, you might consider the flor de mayo/junio varieties as smaller, milder versions. Peruanos are almost like a crossover between these and lima beans in both taste and texture. Black beans have a stronger, earthier flavor, kidneys are markedly less flavorful (and taste sort of ketchupy to me) and I just don't like the other two in the sort of cooking I do, although they're probably excellent in the cuisines that developed alongside them.

Horses for courses: Blacks for refritos, pinto and its cousins for everything else, peruanos if you like a firmer, waxier consistency (and are okay with sickly pale cooked beans), kidneys if you can't get real beans where you live. :raz:

My position on cooking beans is pretty much the opposite of Norm Matthews here: I won't touch canned (consistency and flavor both seem "off" to me), and I boil dried beans in salted water, then soak them overnight, then change the water, rinse and cook the heck out of them with the usual spices, aromatics and pork products, 4 hours at least. This is what slow cookers are for, guys. Toss in diced tomato and some coarsely chopped cilantro for the last half-hour or so.

Some cookbooks say soaking in salted water will prevent the beans from hydrating properly; my experiments say this is nonsense and produces inferior flavor. I can only surmise this is a misguided attempt at limiting sodium intake.

Some other books say you need to handle the cooked beans gingerly as they're very delicate and likely to burst. Then they direct you to take some of the beans out, run them through the blender and add the puree back to the soup. I guess you can do that if you like doing extra work. I just let the soup boil down to a good consistency.

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I too am not fond of canned beans. I keep a few on hand for emergencies, but tend to find them a little slimy with a too-soft texture. Also, some beans, like kidney beans, are canned with sugar and have a distinctly sweet flavor which I find odd after years of cooking them from dry.

The biggest discovery for me about cooking beans was discovering the research showing that hard water can be a culprit with beans that take forever to cook. (yes, old beans can be problematic too, but, I don't store them very long) Now that I use filtered water I have better results. I only do a short soak, maybe an hour, sometimes none. I do add a dash of freshly toasted and ground cumin along with my salt for cooking many types of beans. -I like the flavor.

I'd like to mention that, here in Phoenix, many ethnic markets, most notably the Hispanic ones, carry fresh raw garbanzo beans in the pod. They just get popped out of the pod and cooked briefly. They are green in color and very tasty with more of a green vegetable flavor to them.

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I knew I was going to catch heat for mentioning canned beans but I did so for the purpose of saying that it is a way of tasting a small amount of a variety of bean one had not had in order to get an idea of how it tasted without cooking a batch from scratch.


Edited by Norm Matthews (log)

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Ah, that makes sense. I'd just add to watch out for the added salt & other ingredients many brands come with, making comparisons...

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I've had an ongoing experiment with small amounts of dried beans that I purchased in '08, '09 and last year.

Some I cooked immediately, or within a few months, some I simply stored in bags and some I vacuum packed.

So far I have cooked three batches of the stored beans and the vacuum packed beans, side by side and by golly, the vacuum packed "old" beans turned out much like the more recently purchased beans (same variety).

The beans stored in just a bag, in a canister, did not soften after prolonged soaking and cooking. Little marbles in the pan.

From now on I'm going to vacuum pack all my beans as this certainly seems to have prolonged the life of the ones I treated this way.

The ones from '08 did take longer to cook but eventually softened completely. The ones from '09 were just like the fresh ones.


Edited by andiesenji (log)
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I forgot to add that I keep my beans in canning jars that I vacuum seal with the foodsaver jar attachment. I started doing this as a way to prevent pantry moths. I like lots of kinds of beans and have limited storage space, so I don't buy large quantities of any one type and tend to not keep them more than a year or so. But, I would like to just add that vacuum sealing has given me good results. -The jars also have a very attractive appearance with all the varied colors and sizes.

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I currently have a bag of dried adzuki beans I was gifted that I'm trying to decide what to do with. I want to bypass the traditional sweet stuff and do something savory but haven't made up my mind what I'm going to do yet.

Try cooking with some cut-up buttercup squash and maybe a little seaweed - kelp or alaria (aka wakame). A little good tamari added to finish when they're cooked is good - if you like tamari. Miso might also be good when finished cooking, but I've never tried it.

eta: Butternut squash might work as well as buttercup but, either way, it should be good sweet flavorful squash.


Edited by Country (log)

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yes Norm.... i dont eat beans with BBQ because they are a meal in themselves.... and one distracts from the other.

i have eaten beans with BBQ but prefer not to. to me... beans are not a side dish. lol

thanks for you comments.

I like this SpaghettiWestern. It's like my feeling about beans and chili, quite apart from any competition rules about beans in chili, I prefer beans separately, and not on the side but at another meal.

I share your distaste for kidney beans but you might try the Camellia beans from Lousiana, the red beans used in red beans and rice. I was surprised to learn they are kidney beans but they are quite different than any I've had otherwise. If the Cajun influence has crept over to CTex from here in the SE portion of the state, you may be able to find them at that Fiesta on I-35 in Austin. Other red beans you might try would be rojos pequenos from Central America and red silk beans from El Salvador.

I've had good luck with beans from the bean dispensers/bins at Whole Foods. Just recently made a Texas version of Feijoada with some black turtle beans from there that was very good. It's a way to sample beans without having to pay shipping costs or buy more than you want for a sample. I'm pretty sure I've seen Flor de Mayo and Peruano there.

I also second the Florida Speckled recommendation. Never liked limas till I tried those.

You should also consider fava beans.

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I suppose something could be determined by comparing canned red kidney beans to canned pintos or canned black beans, but the murky flat flavor of canned beans makes any taste test suspect.

The best way to compare beans and find out which are your favorites or which go best in certain dishes is to use good quality fresh dried beans. I love certain beans and find others to be a bore, either in taste or texture or both. For many years living in New Mexico I ate nothing but Pinto beans. Now I have several other types that are my favorites. Pintos are wonderful for refried beans because they are actually a very soft bean and get rather melty. If you like a firm bean that holds its shape, there are plenty of other choices. In most all bean dishes that specify pintos I now use Rattlesnakes or pink beans.

I hated red kidney beans when all I knew was canned or improperly cooked beans. Now they are one of my favorites; they hold their shape well, and have a wonderful texture and flavor. I buy the dark red kidney beans from Purcell Mountain farms, and they are excellent. I haven't tried those Southern iconic Camellia beans, but I would like to. I am guessing that in the south there is high turnover, so perhaps they are fresher there even though they are bagged. Unless you buy beans where other people buy lots of them, getting stale ones is to be expected.

Good Mother Stallard are also one of my favorites. Black beans have a very distinct flavor and they hold their shape well, but they take a longer time to cook than some other beans. My experience is that they are often undercooked, especially when used in salads.

I keep my beans in jars, and try not to buy more than I can use in three or four months; since we cook a pot of beans almost once a week, they are gone before they get stale.

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Even within one kind of bean the flavor can vary depending on the variety. For instance, twenty years ago I bought some Agate pinto bean seeds and grew them. Those were the best pinto beans I ever tasted. But maybe there are other varieties of pintos that are better.

In looking up Agates I came across this Texas Commercial Vegetable Grower's Guide which reports, "Pinto bean varieties currently grown in Texas include: Agate, Bill Z, Cinnabar (D81125), Flint, Olathe, Othello, Pindak, Pinray, UI 114, and UI 116." That's just in Texas and just pintos.

Probably it's the same with other kinds of beans. The taste quest could go on forever... :smile:

eta: The soil and its fertility could have as much, or more, to do with taste than a particular variety.


Edited by Country (log)

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WOW guys ! thanks for all the great comments. I havent been near the computer for a few days so i havent checked back to see if there were more comments posted.

i guess the only way that i am gonna really know how beans differ in variety is to keep trying them all.

i have been keeping a notebook on all the varieties of beans that i make. i make them pretty much all the same way so i can judge what taste and texture i like best.

i dont soak beans anymore.... i use my crock pot and put them in with just water and bones.....no meat on the bones.... just the bones silt open by my butcher to expose the marrow. then dried chilies, mexican oregano, a tiny bit of wrights liquid smoke, smashed garlic cloves and a half of an onion.... not chopped just cut in half and still attached at the top.

i dont want any onion pieces in my beans. i want the flavor but not the bits of garlic and onion itself.

i know this sounds weird but... after much trial and error i have found that THIS is the way i like beans.

cooked in this savory broth they absorb..... and throwing off their own bean broth to boot.

then i season them when they are done with whatever kind of seasonings i feel like at the time.

sometimes i use that lovely bacon flavored salt. wow ! that really makes them sing. lol

they come out SOOOO good that i have to fight myself not to eat huge quanities of them at one sitting.

think i am going to actually try some good dried kidney style beans and see how i like them.

i use to live in New Orleans years ago and i am very familiar with the Camellia beans. their red beans are lovely.

i make beans ALOT... so even though i have alot in my house..... i use them up quickly.

i'll have to try ordering from that purcell mountain website... they sure have a big selection.

so.... thanks again for your comments

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My favorite bean is cannellini/"white kidney" beans. I think it's the rich, buttery texture and heady aroma that does it. I've never thought about how to describe the flavors of various dried beans before--I'll have to start paying more attention. I love them hot, cooked with garlic and sage and drizzled with good olive oil--preferably with lamb shanks, though even a piece of garlic-rubbed bread would be enough. In the summer, I'll toss cooked-and-cooled bean with diced onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, olive oil, and lemon juice (and/or whatever other fresh vegetables and herbs I might have that day). Great with grilled seafood.

For a change of pace, I like to use chick peas for their slightly sweet, nutty flavor. I cook the dried ones. I feel like I read a few books that said they take forever to cook, but for me, they're actually faster than other beans (I find black beans to be the slowest of the ones I cook regularly). I presoak in salted water, which I suppose can't hurt.

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Has anyone tried mayacoba beans? I tried some last year and really liked them. The brand I got was Valle Verde. I found this link that tells a little about them.

http://www.ranchogordo.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=RG&Product_Code=MAYB01

Doesn't $5.50/pound seem a bit excessive? :unsure:

They have a much richer flavor than Canellini or great Northern beans . Are they worth the extra money? It is all a matter of perspective I suppose. I notice lots of food items that cost as much as twice the price of similar items and they taste better but not twice as good. All things considered, to me, $5.50 is not a lot of money even though it may be high compared to more common beans.


Edited by Norm Matthews (log)

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Has anyone tried mayacoba beans? I tried some last year and really liked them. The brand I got was Valle Verde. I found this link that tells a little about them.

http://www.ranchogordo.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=RG&Product_Code=MAYB01

Doesn't $5.50/pound seem a bit excessive? :unsure:

Not really. I've paid more for beans that are from small producers and with limited availability in the US.

Spanish Rinons, Zolfini and Coco Nano from Italy.

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Has anyone tried mayacoba beans? I tried some last year and really liked them. The brand I got was Valle Verde. I found this link that tells a little about them.

http://www.ranchogordo.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=RG&Product_Code=MAYB01

Doesn't $5.50/pound seem a bit excessive? :unsure:

They have a much richer flavor than Canellini or great Northern beans . Are they worth the extra money? It is all a matter of perspective I suppose. I notice lots of food items that cost as much as twice the price of similar items and they taste better but not twice as good. All things considered, to me, $5.50 is not a lot of money even though it may be high compared to more common beans.

It's that all their beans are $5.50. Even ordinary beans such as Canellinis, Pintos and Yellow Eyes. Plus $12 for shipping to East coast. I'd sure hope for that much money they're extra special beans. I was at the local coop today and none of the bulk beans were more than $2, except (organic) Canellinis for $2.29. Got some of those and some Black Eye Peas.

Since we're on dry beans, here's an article in the current issue of Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener that's interesting. White Runner Beans – the Northern Gardener’s Lima The author, Will Bonsall, is well known for his work in Maine when it comes to organic gardening.

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Has anyone tried mayacoba beans? I tried some last year and really liked them. The brand I got was Valle Verde. I found this link that tells a little about them.

http://www.ranchogordo.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=RG&Product_Code=MAYB01

Doesn't $5.50/pound seem a bit excessive? :unsure:

They have a much richer flavor than Canellini or great Northern beans . Are they worth the extra money? It is all a matter of perspective I suppose. I notice lots of food items that cost as much as twice the price of similar items and they taste better but not twice as good. All things considered, to me, $5.50 is not a lot of money even though it may be high compared to more common beans.

It's that all their beans are $5.50. Even ordinary beans such as Canellinis, Pintos and Yellow Eyes. Plus $12 for shipping to East coast. I'd sure hope for that much money they're extra special beans. I was at the local coop today and none of the bulk beans were more than $2, except (organic) Canellinis for $2.29. Got some of those and some Black Eye Peas.

Since we're on dry beans, here's an article in the current issue of Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener that's interesting. White Runner Beans – the Northern Gardener’s Lima The author, Will Bonsall, is well known for his work in Maine when it comes to organic gardening.

I am a regular customer/consumer of Rancho Gordo beans, and definitely consider it worth the extra time and expense to order them.

I'm not saying that you can't get beans anywhere that taste as good as those from RG, but my personal experience has definitely been in that direction.

It's not just the "organic" thing that seems to me to be the difference; but rather, the fact that RG beans are so fresh. Even organic beans can take considerable time to package, ship and sit on grocery shelves, you know.

If you are a person that adds a lot of seasoning to your beans, you might not notice the difference so much. But RG beans are so good that all you need to do is to simmer them in water with a little garlic and salt and they're wonderful.

I've got some pretty terrific bean recipes - my most treasured being charro beans from a famous restaurant in Nuevo Progreso just across the Texas border. It calls for quite a long list of additions and seasonings. For that recipe, I can just go to my local grocery store and buy pintos from the big bulk bean bin. The charro beans are better when I make them with RG pintos, but not so much so that it's worth the extra cost and trouble.

But if all you want to do is to cook and serve them simply, so that the unadorned flavor of the bean itself comes shining through, for my money, you can't beat Rancho Gordo beans.

For that $5.50 we get enough beans to last our family of 6 through two meals.

Still a bargain in my book.


Edited by Jaymes (log)
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