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All about beans

Beans are the seeds of certain plants called legumes (plants that have their seeds in pods). In some countries dried beans are fed to horses.

Beans are the seeds of certain plants called legumes (plants that have their seeds in pods). Beans are grown in most parts of the world and are an important food crop for both animals and humans. When beans are kept in a warm, dry place, they become hard and dry, and will last a long time without spoiling. Before dried beans are used as food, they are usually soaked in water for several hours, then cooked. In some countries dried beans are fed to horses.

Beans contain a great deal of protein, an important food element found in meat and cheese, and they are sometimes used as a substitute for meat. Beans and bacon are a favorite food of poor people in England. In the United States, especially in New England, beans are baked slowly for many hours with pork and molasses, and are a favorite food of many people. The beans used in this dish are called pea beans or navy beans, and are small and white. Kidney beans, which are red in color and about half an inch long, are used in many dishes.

String beans or snap beans have a long green pod, or cover, with small gray beans inside; the pod is more important than the small beans inside. Lima beans or butter beans are grown in warm climates and are an important crop in California. They are green and flat and are commonly served throughout America. Soy beans have been grown in eastern Asia for more than five thousand years as a main food crop. They are dried and ground into flour, and provide many different kinds of food, such as vegetable oil, vegetable cheese, and a white juice that looks like milk and is drunk by many people in Asia the way Americans drink milk. In the United States large quantities of soy beans are grown in the midwest. Americans raise soy beans for oil, flour, cattle feed, and fertilizer. The oil is used in the manufacture of paint, soaps, linoleum, printing ink, and other products.


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