Taste

lucillleMarch 25, 2014

Is there any sort of descriptive list that rates beans by taste? I realize how subjective taste is, but as I read and research it is difficult to really get an idea.
One description I read said that the bean being described has a 'strong beany taste'. I couldn't really get an idea from that other than the bean tasted like a bean, which one might hope for.
I don't know that I've ever eaten a bean I disliked but I do like some more than others. I don't want to have to order seed and grow hundreds of beans just to find those I favor. (I know, some of you are saying 'Why not?')

Perhaps just like the wine aficionados hold wine tastings, there could be gatherings of people for bean tastings, (hopefully less pretentious).

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jimster(z7a MA)

You've raised a very interesting issue. I'm not aware that bean flavors have been discussed in any depth. And, so far as I know, the vocabulary for describing bean flavors is very limited. A first attempt at web search uncovered the site linked below, which has a meager amount of information, but it's a start.

Jim

Here is a link that might be useful: Dry Bean Varieties

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 10:27PM
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drloyd

Bill Best has some helpful articles at the link below.

Appalachian heirloom beans have hulls that remain tender until they start to dry. These beans are eaten as the seeds are maturing. At that stage they are called "full beans." I like them best when the pods turn yellow. Most of these beans have strings but they are worth it. I much prefer them to ordinary green beans. Tennessee Cutshort and Tobacco Worm are a couple of fine choices. The Italian bean Anellino Giallo is another very good one. - Dick

Here is a link that might be useful: Bill Best

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 9:03AM
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tormato

Lucille,

As for taste, do you mean dry beans, or fresh snaps?

Which varieties do like more than others?

And, if you'd like some samples of different varieties, send me an email.

Gary

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 11:33AM
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lucillle

Gary,

I am mostly talking about dry beans which are then cooked. I do not know them by variety, just by looks. I am very fond of black beans and use them in a variety of cooking, and use pinto beans in TexMex dishes. I'm not wanting to grow pintos as they are available at reasonable price in large quantities here. There is a smallish red bean I use cooked in salads, I do not know what it is called.

I do not know whether taste preferences change with age, but I find myself trying more and different kinds of dry beans when I cook. I am amazed at the variety there is online, but there is usually just a handful of different kinds at the store (and hence my question about taste, so that I don't have to grow 100 varieties to find what I like).

I think the problem with fresh at least for me, is that many times prior to retirement when I tried to grow for fresh eating, work and motherhood took precedence and I would find myself looking at overgrown plants with large older beans, I could never harvest them young and make a decent meal.
Thank you for your kind offer.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 4:36PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Lucille, you bring up an interesting question. While I eat a lot of beans as snaps or shellies, and am expanding my dry bean collection, I don't really have a good system for evaluating the cooked qualities of dry beans. Ideally, to evaluate several varieties at a time, that would be a method to cook small amounts... I've considered baking batches in large muffin tins, or maybe earthenware bowls.

Does anyone have any suggestions in this regard? Gary, you in particular must have some good experience in this area. Any good test recipes?

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 4:17PM
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tormato

Zeedman,

You'd think I'd have some good experience in this area. Alas, I have none.

While I trial hundreds of bean varieties, even tasting "dry" varieties when in the snap stage, I've never cooked any of my saved dry seed. Since it's usually having only one or two plants of a variety, the saved seed never gets anywhere near a pound to a variety. The few ounces I do get is mostly traded/given away.

Gary

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 3:28PM
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lucillle

I went grocery shopping today, went to HEB. Went down the aisle and found dried beans. I was surprised there were about 15 different kinds including Anasazi, and all were inexpensive. I bought a bunch of different kinds.
I may use my relatively small growing space for beans I want to each fresh or freeze, and use these dry beans for cooking.
I'm thinking of cooking a small amount of each without seasoning as I cook the rest with flavorings, and freezing the cooked beans, and when I get enough together defrosting them all and doing a taste comparison.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 1:21PM
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spacetogrow(4 MN)

Periodically in the winter, I'll soak very small amounts of 3 or 4 varieties of dry beans overnight. I'll note how long each variety takes to swell, and whether a variety swells all at the same time (important for winter sprouts). Then I'll note how long it takes to cook the seeds until they're comfortable to chew, and whether they fall apart, e.g good for soup or refried..

I note their texture and, of course, their flavor. It's interesting to me that some, e.g, Rattlesnake, speak loudly of Mexican cuisine, and others, e.g. Kenearly Yellow Eye, speak very loudly of New England cuisine.

On the Hot Pepper forum, people manage to discern the nuances of "nuclear" hot pepper flavors. I'm thinking it would be much easier to discern the nuances of different varieties of dry beans?????

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 7:39PM
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spacetogrow(4 MN)

I forgot to mention...I wonder if the little red beans you referred to are adzuki, which are known in Indian stores as red chori. They are also just called "red beans".

They are very common and inexpensive in Asian and Indian groceries.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 8:03PM
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lucillle

One of you bean gods/goddesses should write a Bean Encyclopedia with pictures, taste descriptions, etc.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 2:50PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Since Indian stores were mentioned..... while you are there, pick up some of their curry sauce to add to your beans. It is so much better than regular grocery store curry. IMHO

I love it especially in Navy beans and any white lima.

Darn, now my mouth is watering!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 12:41PM
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lucillle

I love curry.
My son's picked up some curry powder at Trader Joe's, it is really good. I do not know of a local India grocery but if I find one I will check out their spices.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 9:28PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I haven't tried Trader Joe's, but I have heard they have some good stuff.

The closest one to me is 25 miles away.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 11:33AM
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shuffles_gw

At our house we really like curried snap beans.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 1:04PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I've never tried it on snap beans, but I'd bet it's good!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 1:22PM
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