Legumes have sustained humanity and our livestock for thousands of years and throughout history long forgotten. Though the bean does not hold all the amino acids necessary to sustain life or fully function, it is one of the most hard-hitting pieces of nutrition available today. Better yet, it’s easy to grow and there are dozens of types of them.

While some are better than others, most are exceptionally nutritious for you in one way or another. Curious? Let’s take a deeper look at the ever-present and ever-powerful bean.

Which Ones?The Ultimate Survival Crop You Need On Your Property

Don’t throw your green beans or soybeans away, but do get ready to have your mind blown by which beans are the best and which ones aren’t. The aforementioned green bean? Not so much. While it’s great for fiber and does have some good nutrients hidden within the calorie, protein, and vitamin count are pretty low. The same goes for soybeans, though their protein ratio to weight is a great deal higher.

To find the beans that we want to eat, we have to dig a little deeper into the bean category. And you’ll probably be getting them in a can until you’ve learned to dry and harvest them yourself. Dried bean availability has been hit or miss for the pass several years now after the advent of the most recent pandemic, with many people stocking up on them in enormous quantities. If you see them dried on your shelves, great. Get those. If not, it’s okay to get canned. We’ll get into this a little more later.

Black beans, chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), lentils, and kidney beans are the most common beans (or bean-type-plants if we’re being specific with regard to lentils) that you’ll find in your local grocery store that pack the best nutritious punch per gram of contents. They’re high protein, anti-oxidant, and contain enormous counts of riboflavins, various vitamins and minerals, and tons of easily digestible fiber. After all, we all know the song, right? That’s due to the high fiber content that gets your stomach moving.

Please note, that those with kidney disease should speak to their doctor about their bean intake before loading their diet down with it. There are some things (like tannins in black beans) that may cause discomfort for those who are extremely sensitive.

Dried, Canned, or Fresh?The Ultimate Survival Crop You Need On Your Property

I said we’d get back to this. Let’s talk about the best way to use your beans.

While it is possible to use them fresh off the plant, we strongly recommend against this. Most beans are pretty sharp in flavor and at least somewhat bitter when fresh.

The best way to eat beans is to keep them dried on your shelf, soak them the night before you intend to use them and use them with dishes that need an extra pack of protein. They pair wonderfully with red and white meat, or whole vegetarian or vegan dishes, too. Having a soup? Toss a few handfuls in. Making a meatloaf? Mix some beans in and be surprised at how much fuller you feel after that meal.

Canned beans are your second-best option. While I try to avoid them due to long-standing can coating discrepancies (BPA was just the start of all that mess, other can coatings can be harmful to those with medical sensitivities, too), these are an option for most of you reading this. And they’re perfectly safe for you, too.

For me, when I do use these, I tend to rinse them with a good spray from my kitchen sink before cooking them. Most have added salt (which is common in canning) and I don’t want that added to my food, either.

Canned beans take a good deal shorter time to cook and require no soaking, so if you’re in a rush, these may be the perfect bet.

Fantastic Plants to Add to Your BeansThe Ultimate Survival Crop You Need On Your Property

Perhaps one of the most common growing partners for beans is sweet corn. Universally, beans remove acidic taint from the soil and add heavy nitrogen as they grow. Corn, which is a greedy nitrogen hog, gulps it down. The corn also provides both a stake for the beans and a small amount of shade for them as well.

Many people pair this with a type of squash as well. The “three sisters” growing technique is attributed to numerous American Indigenous communities and most likely began before these communities fractured into multiple groups.

Metabolic Syndromes and Beans

Those suffering from diabetes and similar illnesses will notice that beans contain quite a large amount of carbohydrates. While this is true, they act much like oatmeal within the body. They are low on the glucose index and should not spike your blood sugar if used within a sensible amount. However, we do recommend against eating heavy vegan or vegetarian diets with only these proteins to rely on as you will likely have a higher A1C result than you would with meats.

Of course, we are not doctors. Please check this information with your personal doctor. But we do speak from experience in this particular case. I saw an enormous drop in my personal A1C as well as relatives’ A1C numbers once we cut back on beans just a little bit in our diets. The same for multiple neighbors, too. So for those of you with various metabolic issues, do talk to your nutritionist (if you have one) and your doctor before adding a lot of these to your diet.

Delicious? Certainly. Nutritious? Absolutely. Perfect for you, personally? That one is up to your medical provider and your nutrition assistant.

And that’s what we have to say about beans today. Personally, I’ll be enjoying a sausage and three-bean soup tonight. What about you? What is your favorite way to enjoy beans? Is there anything you’d like to say about this magical “fruit” that we didn’t? Hurry into the comments below and get to posting your responses. We’d love to hear from you and yours. And remember, Happy Gardening!

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