Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Culinary IQ: Tuesday, December 27,2011; Legumes

Good Luck Beans

With New Years nearing I started thinking about Black Eyed Peas. I usually follow the widely held tradition of making the legumes for New Years for good luck. Whether they actually bring you good luck or not they are good for you so why not make them just in case.

When I searched for information on legumes, I found an extensive amount from the Mayo Clinic. You know if this prestigious institution has detailed information on legumes they must be good for you.

Here is some information adapted from the clinic's website, www.mayoclinic.com:

Legumes — a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas and lentils — are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available. Legumes are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also contain beneficial fats and soluble and insoluble fiber. A good source of protein, legumes can be a healthy substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol.

Type of legumes

Many supermarkets and food stores stock a wide variety of legumes — both dried and canned. Below are several of the more common types and their typical uses.
Adzuki beans - Also known as field peas or red oriental beans. Use in Soups, sweet bean paste, and Japanese and Chinese dishes.

Anasazi beans - Also known as Jacob's cattle beans. Use in soups and Southwestern dishes; can be used in recipes that call for pinto beans.

Black beans - Also known as turtle beans. Use in soups, stews, rice dishes and Latin American cuisines.

Black-eyed peas - Also known as cowpeas. Use in salads, casseroles, fritters and Southern dishes.

Chickpeas - Also known as garbanzo or ceci beans. Use in casseroles, hummus, minestrone soup, and Spanish and Indian dishes.

Edamame - Also known as green soybeans. Use in snacks, salads, casseroles and rice dishes.

Fava beans - Also known as broad or horse beans. Use in stews and side dishes.

Lentils. Use in soups, stews, salads, side dishes and Indian dishes.

Lima beans - Also known as butter or Madagascar beans. Use in succotash, casseroles, soups and salads.

Red kidney beans. Use in stews, salads, chili and rice dishes.

Soy nuts - Also known as roasted soybeans or soya beans. Use in snacks or garnish for salads.

As previously mentioned, most of these legumes can be purchased canned or dry in your local supermarket. Tomorrow I will have information on cooking dry legumes should you choose to go that route. The benefit of cooking them yourself is you have the ability to choose the doneness of the legume.

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