Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dried Beans Grown in Nebraska

Until reading an article in the Omaha World Herald last week, I had no idea that Nebraska harvests more Great Northern white beans than any other state, 140 million pounds. Nebraska is among the top three states for pinto beans, harvesting 108 million pounds in 2008. These beans are primarily grown in Western Nebraska. Other varieties grown in Nebraska are black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, pink beans and garbanzo beans.

I am familiar with and have cooked with all of these types of beans, except pink beans. Curious about the uses for pink beans, I checked out the Nebraska Dry Bean Association website. Pink Beans: "Small, pale, pink-colored; rich, meaty flavor with a slightly powdery texture. Related to the kidney bean; turns reddish brown when cooked. Often used in chili; a favorite in Old West recipes. "

Beans are a good source of protien, high in fiber, low in fat and packed full of vitamins and minerals. Dried beans can be the main source of protien in a meal or served as a vegetable. One fourth cup of cooked beans is equivalent to one once of meat. As a vegetable, a serving is one half cup. A meatless main dish made with beans is a good change for a Friday during the Lenten season.

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