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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bean Recipes

by Zenolite


Ever since the days before Babylonia itself, man has been reliant on plants for sustenance. Our ancestors were foragers as much as hunters and used wild berries and roughage as a primary source of sustenance, especially in times of famine when even the prey they hunted became scarce; plants remained plentiful, however. One of the longest and most widely cultivated of these ancient plants was the humble bean, a legume valued as much for its ruggedness as its flavor and nutrients. These ancient beans were found from Afghanistan to the far flung reaches of the Himalayan mountain range where they were gathered by early humans in their wild, unrefined, but still hearty form. Elsewhere, in Thailand, they had been cultivated into a domestic crop as early as 6000 B.C., well predating even the use of pottery and ceramics that would thereafter be used to keep the seedlings cool and dry until ready for use. Even in North America, the common bean, often seen on plates and in supermarkets today, was refined into a harvestable crop by 4000 B.C. and being used as the basis for many Native American diets.

Beans continue to serve an important, if at times neglected, role in the diet of modern man, providing fiber, protein and iron  while remaining plentiful, cheap and versatile. In many vegetarian circles a number of bean recipes are experiencing a revival due to the unique nutrition provided in its compact shell. As the majority of the nutrients provided by meat are those represented in abundance by beans, this cellulose fed source often serves as a substitute for vegetarians and vegans who've sworn off their more carnivorous counterpart.

No food retains its appeal if prepared the same night after night, however, and there are few repositories of recipes catering to a focus on the ancient legume, even in the present age of information. One of these select few repositories of bean recipes, and likely the most diverse, is actually a source of recipes straight from a producer of the plants themselves, S&W Beans. Their website ( has a catalog devoted to a diverse assortment of recipes that either focus on or simply implement beans for a well rounded meal with no-frills, easy to make recipes alongside a few more refined and complicated to keep the all important beans from becoming a stale staple that's dreaded to be seen.

S&W Beans was founded over a century ago, in 1896 by three wholesale grocers from San Francisco to promote a healthier, more nutritious lifestyle and provide the food to live that life to its fullest. For their plentiful bean recipes and a listing of the company's products, you can find their site at

I am Zenolite. As a freelancer I am writing articles for SWBeans. For further enquirees, be sure to check their site at

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