American bean refers to the variety of bean either cultivated on American land or extensively used in American cuisine. Lima, garbanzo, black-eyed navy and kidney bean are some of the commonly used varieties of bean popular in American cooking. Though not all these beans originated in America, the wide use of these beans in cooking American dishes earns them the name of American beans.
Bean burritos, chili bean, garden bean salad and bean soup are some of the popular bean recipes of American cuisine.
History of American Beans
Most of the varieties of beans eaten fresh are said to be first found in America by Christopher Columbus, during his expedition to the American land. He found the beans growing at the place that is presently known as Bahamas. Guitarrero Cave, known as an archeological location at Peru is the place where oldest-domesticated American bean was found dated back to 2nd millennium BCE. At present, around 4000 bean cultivars are on record in America alone.
Culinary Uses of American Beans
Bean is a vital part of American meal due to its supreme health benefits and versatility of being used in cooking. Almost all varieties of beans are incorporated in American dishes including soups, salads, curry dishes, dry dishes and even in few desserts.
Generally, dry, fresh and boiled beans in whole or split form are used in cooking, but bean paste is also a very commonly used ingredient in American cooking. Fresh beans are extensively incorporated in American cooking as they are easily digestible and provide immense nutrition. Dried beans are usually soaked overnight before being used for cooking and they are also equally beneficial.
Types of American Beans
Though there are hundreds of varieties of bean commonly used in American cooking, here is the list of beans domesticated on American land by pre-Columbian people. These are the species of ‘phaseolus bean’ and all are native to America.
- Common beans – These beans include kidney beans, yellow beans, black beans and many such beans that are commonly used in bean dishes. They were particularly grown in the regions from Chile to the present day United States.
- Lima and Sieva beans – Sieva beans are believed to have originated in Mexico whereas Lima beans were originated in northern Peru and both varieties belong to the same species. These are mainly grown for their seeds that are widely consumed in America as vegetables.
- Tepary bean – This bean is native to Mexico and southwest America. It is a dry variety of American bean that is extensively used in cooking by soaking overnight or grinding into a paste.
- Scarlet runner beans – This beans is grown for its green edible whole pods that are either eaten fresh or dried.
Health Facts Related to American Beans
American bean or any other bean is a rich source of protein from thousands of years and also fat-free. It contains higher content of fiber as compared to whole grain products. A message in US dietary guidance states that a diet comprising beans may lessen the risk of certain cancers and heart diseases.