The World of Beans

In almost everywhere in the world, beans will be consumed in some fashion very regularly. Around East Asia, you often see sweet bean jams, and tofu is essentially soymilk, coagulated like milk is into cheese. In Italy, minestrone soup is famous for having many types of beans and grains. In the Middle East, hummus is quite popular. There are fermented bean sauces, bean cakes, bean chips, and so much more available in the world.

Simply put, beans are the best staple food in the world. They contain plenty of starches, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, and they store dry for years. Vegetarians and vegans who understand nutrition turn to beans for many different meals. If you ask your vegetarian friends, they probably have chickpeas, pinto beans, dal, kidney beans, lima beans, and maybe more in their pantry. In the past, we humans were a lot more vegetarian than today, because meat was a scarcity reserved for the rich. Beans have been cultivated for thousands of years, and was no doubt the thing that kept many families alive during times of hardship, as well as being a primary source of protein for many. Even before we knew anything about nutrition, we probably noticed that people who eat beans were healthy.

The flavors of beans

If you are a bean connoisseur, you probably have had beans in many different ways. From a bean dip for chips, to chili and beans, hummus, and even sweet bean desserts, there is a wonderful world of flavor with each bean. The chemical makeup of different beans is different with every bean, with different starches, pectins, amino acids, fibers, and many vitamins and minerals too. All of these different components mean that every bean has a unique flavor, texture, and aroma. Some beans are smooth and creamy, where others like chickpeas are more hearty, which is why hummus has its unique texture. Certain types beans have earthy aromas, which go amazingly in soups and strong flavored side dishes. Just like sweet potatoes tend to have a nice desert like aroma more than russet or other varieties of potatoes, sweet beans are the same way. There are an amazing variety of flavors among beans.

This list is non-exhaustive, and I will probably add more in the future. Please email me if you have any suggestions.

Beans in India

In India, many curries will include chickpeas, whole or mashed. Dal, which is split beans, typically lentils, but occasionally other beans is a great source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. India is a hub for many religions with strict food rules, so naturally they will consume a lot of beans, which are excellent plant based protein.

Beans in the Middle East

Probably the most famous, but there are many bean based dishes, such as mujaddara, a lentil and rice dish, as well as ful mudammas, a filling fava bean based dish. As the Middle East is largely desert with many civilizations built on floodplains. In some years, the rivers would flood, and people would have to take their things and move to higher ground. Additionally rivers in that area often change shape through the years, so many people had to migrate. It makes sense beans would be popular, as dried beans are a great way to grow and store nutritious food for years.

Beans in Europe

In Europe, beans are very popular in soups. Minestrone is perhaps the most famous representation of this. Additionally, beans are a very common side dish. Generally Europeans don’t eat too many beans as a main course as many Asian and African countries do.

Beans in the Americas

Depending on where in the US you are, many different bean related dishes will be available. Many parts of the US have beans in a way similar to Europe, in soups and with side dishes. The US is very international though, and many different famous foods from other countries has found its way here.

Beans in Cincinnati

Beans in New Mexico

In New Mexico, pinto beans are the most popular bean, but different beans such as bolita beans or Anasazi beans are also readily consumed. Over here, beans also aren’t generally the main course, but they play a part in many main courses and side dishes. Refried beans are one way to serve them, because it is a very easy dish to plop a spoonful onto a plate, and maybe add a pinch of cheese. Personally, I am quite fond of borracho beans with green chile.

I might write a recipe on it in the future, but recipes take a long time to plan, photograph, and write.

Beans at Farmers Chile Market in Albuquerque

This 2023 season, we are planning to carry pinto beans from Ness Farms, as well as bolita beans, black beans, and Anasazi beans. We will possibly have more than just that in the future, but we recognize the importance of beans in our New Mexican cuisine, and want to offer a wider variety for people to make with our delicious red and green chile. Roasted or raw, mild or extra hot, you know we have chile, well we will have a large variety of beans for you to make a truly New Mexican dinner. Please remember us when you are thinking about where to get bolita beans and Anasazi beans in Albuquerque.