On Beans

My oldest daughter refuses to eat beans. As a matter of fact, she can pick through a bowl of chili eating everything but the beans with incredible accuracy and persistence. Ask her to clean her room and it “takes too long, Mom”, but she will sit for hours picking the beans from any dish without blinking an eye.

The rest of us, on the other hand, adore the musical fruit. Entire meals can, and often are, be based around beans — of one variety or many, we’re not picky. Black, dark and light red kidney, great northern, navy, white, and yes, even lima. Soups, stews, salads, pasta dishes; the options are endless.

And why not? They’re not only essentially a super food — packed with protein, fiber and nutrients galore — they’re easily grown and even easier to store. Whether canned, frozen or dried beans keep well for months and lend themselves equally as nicely to both hearty winter and light, yet filling summer fare making them prime candidates as a year-round local eating staple.

My favorite for meals is the black bean (chick peas, for obvious reasons — hummus! — win out for snacks.) Tossed with onion, sundried tomatoes, roasted corn, a generous handful of fresh chopped cilantro, a pinch of ground pepper and the juice of a freshly squeezed lime — or three, we love limes — they’re always a hit. Served warm next to fish tacos or cold as a mid-summer lunch all their own after a night spent marinating in the fridge, it’s versatile to boot.

What are your favorites? What beans must I try this year and in what inventive ways should I prepare them? Share with me your tips, tricks and recipes — my oldest daughter will not appreciate your kindness, but the rest of us sure will, and who knows her taste buds just might come around someday.