General information on white beans:
From Wikipedia: “Navy beans or haricot beans are particularly popular in the United Kingdom and the United States. Other white beans include cannellini, a popular variety in central and southern Italy that is related to the kidney bean. White beans are the most abundant plant-based source of phosphatidylserine known.”
General information on beans:
“Phaseolus vulgaris, the common bean (also known as the string bean, field bean, flageolet bean, French bean, garden bean, green bean, haricot bean, pop bean, snap bean, or snap), is a herbaceous annual plant grown worldwide for its edible dry seed (known as just "beans") or unripe fruit (green beans). Raw or undercooked beans contain the toxin phytohaemagglutinin. Its leaf is also occasionally used as a vegetable and the straw as fodder. Its botanical classification, along with other Phaseolus species, is as a member of the legume family Fabaceae, most of whose members acquire the nitrogen they require through an association with rhizobia, a species of nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
The common bean is a highly variable species that has a long history of cultivation. All wild members of the species have a climbing habit, but many cultivars are classified as "bush beans" or "pole beans", depending on their style of "growing". These include the kidney bean, the navy bean, the pinto bean, and the wax bean. The other major types of commercially grown bean are the runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus) and the broad bean (Vicia faba).
Beans are grown in every continent except Antarctica. Brazil and India are the largest producers of dry beans, while China produces, by far, the largest quantity of green beans. Worldwide, 23 million tonnes of dry common beans and 17.1 million tonnes of green beans were grown in 2010.”
Nutritional information and preparations:
“Similar to other beans, the common bean is high in starch, protein, and dietary fiber, and is an excellent source of iron, potassium, selenium, molybdenum, thiamine, vitamin B6, and folate.
Dry beans will keep indefinitely if stored in a cool, dry place, but as time passes, their nutritive value and flavor degrade and cooking times lengthen. Dried beans are almost always cooked by boiling, often after being soaked in water for several hours. While the soaking is not strictly necessary, it shortens cooking time and results in more evenly textured beans. In addition, soaking beans removes 5 to 10% of the gas-producing sugars that can cause flatulence for some people. ...
Before cooking, the soaking water is drained off and discarded. Dry common beans take longer to cook than most pulses: cooking times vary from one to four hours, but are substantially reduced with pressure cooking. ...
Dry beans may also be bought cooked and canned as refried beans, or whole with water, salt, and sometimes sugar.”
“In 2010, total world production of dry beans was 23 million metric tons, harvested from over 30 million hectares. World production of green beans in 2010 was 17.7 million tons, harvested from 15.1 million hectares.”
“The toxic compound phytohaemagglutinin, a lectin, is present in many common bean varieties, but is especially concentrated in red kidney beans. White kidney beans contain about a third as much toxin as the red variety; broad beans (Vicia faba) contain 5 to 10% as much as red kidney beans.
Phytohaemagglutinin can be deactivated by cooking beans for ten minutes at boiling point (100 °C, 212 °F). Insufficient cooking, such as in a slow cooker at 80 °C/ 176 °F, however, can increase the toxicity up to fivefold. To safely cook the beans, the U.S Food and Drug Administration recommends boiling for 30 minutes to ensure they reach a sufficient temperature for long enough to completely destroy the toxin. For dry beans, the FDA also recommends an initial soak of at least 5 hours in water which should then be discarded. Outbreaks of poisoning have been associated with cooking kidney beans in slow cookers.
The primary symptoms of phytohaemagglutinin poisoning are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Onset is from one to three hours after consumption of improperly prepared beans, and symptoms typically resolve within a few hours. Consumption of as few as four or five raw, soaked kidney beans can cause symptoms. Canned red kidney beans, though, are safe to use immediately.
Beans are high in purines, which are metabolized to uric acid. Uric acid is not a toxin as such, but may promote the development or exacerbation of gout. So people with gout have been advised in the past to limit their consumption of beans. However, more recent research has questioned this association, finding that moderate intake of purine-rich foods is not associated with increased risk of gout.”
“Bean leaves have been used to trap bedbugs in houses. Microscopic hairs (trichomes) on the bean leaves entrap the insects. From ancient times, beans were used as device in various methods of divination. Fortune-telling using beans is called favomancy.”