Beans are starchy ripe and dry seeds extracted from pods which grow in leguminous plants from Phaseolus type, although there are other types which belong to different botanical genera as Vigna, Dolichos and Canavalia. According to the original country they receive different names like frijol, habichuela, judía or alubia. In Spain they receive different names according to the region: fréjoles, fabes, mongetes, bajocas, pochas or caparrones.
The common bean is original from Latin América, where there are two centres of origin: Mexico - Central America and Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. Although in Europe, Greeks and Romans knew a related species, it can be almost certainly asserted that was introduced in this continent from America in the 16th Century. Nowadays, beans can be found in different tropical, subtropical and temperate regions; it is the most important legume in Latin America and different parts of Africa.
Bean plants produce green pods, consumed as a leaf vegetables and ripe seeds, consumed as legumes.
One of the main beans is the French bean (Phaseolusvulgaris), its skin is varied (red, black, white) and kidney-shaped. Is the most widespread and there is a great number of commercial varieties: butter beans, round white, fleshy, planchada and El Barco judión. The long exclusive bean is a great quality variety produced exclusively in Leon.
Beans are rich in fibre, folate, potassium and iron (less absorption than animal origin iron), although its main components are carbohydrates. They provide a huge quantity of vegetal protein, with worse quality (they lack an essential amino acid, the methionine). Nonetheless, beans combined with cereals like rice provide protein as complete as animal origin protein.
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