Did you know there are over 40,000 types of beans? The oldest beans we know to have been eaten were Broad beans (perhaps more commonly known as Fava beans). Beans have been found in the tombs of the mummies and are believed to have been used as long ago as the early 7th millennium BCE. That’s a pretty long time ago. I think we can safely call them, “has-beans”.
Soy beans have been around for nearly as long but they were not put into so much use until World War 2 when they seemed to become a staple in every diet. Soy can be very good for you, but it does have some drawbacks since it is now known that they have an unusually high amount of phytoestrogens (estrogen) which can cause a hormone imbalance in men as it counters testosterone. It is also deadly if eaten raw. It contains toxins that are removed when cooked.
Red beans, kidney beans, and butter beans also contain the same toxin and must be cooked before eating. There may be others as well, so make sure you check before eating any uncooked beans. (not that many of us eat raw beans anyway).
In Europe, the primary bean served was the broad bean, and it wasn’t until the explorers reached the New World that kidney beans, black beans, cranberry, pinto, and navy beans were added to the diet. In fact, the Native Americans introduced a dish to the settlers known as the “Three Sisters” which was made up of corn, beans, and squash.
Since those days we have added beans to meals so we got our quota of veggies. The lima bean has been used in numerous dishes but are just as good plain (though not everyone thinks so). Today, the largest bean crops come out of Myanmar, with the US ranking 7th in overall production.
And the reason beans (legumes) make us so flatuent is because of the sugar trapped inside the beans when they are cooked. Go figure, I didn’t quite understand that one either. Beans are like the Forrest Gump of veggies. They come as green beans, baked beans, lima beans, soy beans, refried beans, three bean salad, pork and beans, yellow beans, red beans, black beans, kidney beans, Beany and Cecil … well as I said before, there are 40,000 varieties of beans.
How to celebrate: Try some kind of bean you’ve never eaten before. Grow a bean garden (it only takes about 60 days from the time they are planted to when they are ready to eat). Throw a bean party with everybody bringing a different bean dish (best done by a campfire outside, mimicking “Blazing Saddles”).