How Do I Choose the Best Brown Beans?

T. Carrier

Plant seeds of all varieties have become popular edible treats, and beans have arguably secured the strongest niche in culinary cuisines. Brown beans are one particularly prominent type of legume. The moniker brown bean traditionally refers to a specific bean known as the Swedish bean, but other brown-colored beans do exist. Taste and texture differences between these beans will help you select a type suitable to your palate. Other factors you might want to consider include the beans’ storage capacity, ease of cooking, and culinary uses.

Broad beans in the pod.
Broad beans in the pod.

You should evaluate what specific use you will have for your beans. If the food is meant to be a stand-alone dish, then you will likely prefer beans with a strong flavor that suits your tastes. For example, Swedish brown beans usually possess a mild and slightly sweet or even nutty flavor. A variety called mung bean may compel those who prefer crunchier textures. Broad beans, on the other hand, have a creamier taste and texture, which makes them good for dip bases.

Pinto beans are high in iron and fiber.
Pinto beans are high in iron and fiber.

In fact, many brown beans are versatile components of dishes ranging from salads to casseroles. Individuals can add other meats like ham or bacon to Swedish brown beans in order to make bean casseroles. Similarly, baked beans are a canned, commercially available product that contain meat additives and a distinct sauce. If you fancy refried beans or spicy chili beans, kidney beans or pinto beans are a good choice. Kidney beans also find a home in many bean salads due to their somewhat neutral taste and soft texture.

A major benefit of brown beans is their potentially long shelf life, making beans one of the most frequently stored foods around the world. Dry brown beans sealed in a durable container can keep for years. More advantageous still, dry beans can be easily cooked on many heating sources after a thorough soak. In addition, they can feed plenty of individuals when cooked. Further, canned brown beans are manufactured via a process that makes prolonged storage periods ideal. Some of the most quality beans for storage can be found at natural foods markets.

Nutritionally, beans offer many positives, which is why they are a prominent part of many diets. The more darkly colored brown beans may have a slight advantage, however, as they are infused with greater quantities of antioxidants. Foods rich in antioxidants help combat the damaging bodily effects caused by unstable oxygen molecules. For extra doses of iron and fiber, you should consider broad beans or pinto beans. Keep in mind, however, that broad beans contain large quantities of tyramine, which may adversely interact with certain medications.

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