A Legume By Any Other Name…OR…Poe’s Adventures With Beans…

Thoughtful Readers… 
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As if someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
(…..”Tis some memory” I muttered “tapping fully at mind’s door;
Only this and nothing more.”…..)

(…..Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak November,
As I tried that eve to tender, words to paper, sow the seed,
Here I sit now almost sleeping, softly silently composing,
Intent upon the task before me lest my eyes should fail to heed,
The silent nature of the passage, here for all to see and read;
Only this and nothing more…..) 
While in the midst of this most stately of Edgar Allan’s works my mind wandered off to the kitchen and to a subject close to my heart—food. Having a small get-together to attend in a few days, I was trapped in a plethora of ideas about what food dish I would throw together for everyone’s pleasure. Examining my pantry produced little in the way of answers….largely because there was little in the way of contents. Picking up a lonely can of green beans, which happened to be on a shelf right next to a lonely can of chick peas, I started down memory lane intent on arriving at a perfectly acceptable solution. But like so many ventures of this kind, I quickly lost focus on the task at hand, turning instead to random thoughts of Poe and blogging. (How those two thoughts intertwine, I have NO idea!!…).

In any event, my stroll through memories almost forgotten led me to thinking about legumes and how many varieties were in stock at my local grocery. After about five minutes of intense introspection I had arrived at a list that I was fairly certain could be documented easily.

Here’s your challenge…..While sitting in front of your computer (like me..!), make a list of all the different varieties of legumes (okay, lets make it just beans..) you can think of that are in stock at YOUR local grocery…Remember, beans only..(that means no garden peas, or snow peas, or sugar snaps, or lentils..). Please don’t force me to try to describe the differences between beans and peas. It has something to do with hollow stems vs. solid stems and tendrils on leaves, etc., etc. I can’t begin to recite the taxonomy involved and never will…because I just don’t care.!!! For this exercise….fresh beans, canned beans, dry beans, frozen beans….doesn’t matter. Oh, one other thing. I said varieties of beans. That means BBQ Beans, or Pork and Beans, or Baked Beans, or Chili Beans don’t count…..

Okay then, Ready, Set, Go…………..You still here.?? Come on get busy.!! Shouldn’t take more than two or three minutes to write them down. No peeking at my list either.!!








List finished.?? I would guess that you should have no problem coming up with seven or eight different beans, maybe more. Vegans or Vegetarians could probably come up with at least twice that many.

This is my list the way I wrote them down along with my thoughts as I was working:

Green Beans (various cuts and styles)
Wax Beans (variation on green bean..??)
Kidney Beans (at least two variations–dark red, light..)
Pinto Beans
Black Beans
Cannellini Beans
Garbanzo Beans (Chick Peas) (These could be peas, not beans..??)
Navy Beans
Great Northern Beans
Lima Beans
Butter Beans (Related to Lima Beans, but different..??)
Fava Beans
Soy Beans (Edamame) (pea vs. bean..?)
Mung Beans
Cranberry Beans
Black Eyed Peas (really a bean..?? not like a garden pea)
Field Peas (really a bean, like black eyes..??)
Crowder Peas (bean..??) (I think Crowder Peas and Field Peas are essentially the same bean..)

How did you do?? I feel certain that some of you have varieties in your market that I don’t have…and some of you have a lot more varieties than I do. That’s okay. This isn’t about winning or losing..!! And it isn’t about right or wrong, or how good your memory is….or whether you wrote down a pea instead of a bean for that matter. It is about thinking outside of the bean box. There are a tremendous number of bean varieties available to us….and most of us have not tried a lot of them. I was surprised at how many different varieties I found in my local area and how many more I did not find. My list is not an exhaustive one by any means. Looking around the Internet there are dozens of varieties out there that are not available to me where I live.

I can see the questions coming now. “What were you thinking??” Me?? I was thinking that if I did this, maybe you should too.. “Why was this exercise important??” Ah, that IS the question!! And the subject of my next post…..

Be well,



12 thoughts on “A Legume By Any Other Name…OR…Poe’s Adventures With Beans…

  1. cranberry beans are like pinto beans, but they taste better, unfortunately, they make you have more flatulence. I can’t wait until tomorrow’s blog. Will it be a beans beans the magical fruit poem or a recipe for bean soup?

    • Neither…Ha!! I have something special underway. Won’t be tomorrow though. Ms. Marilyn is posting tomorrow…
      BTW…love your latest…..don’t back away from what you believe. Love that you are willing to take on any subject….and poverty is a tough one. Well done!

  2. Hello Howard. You have missed so many. There is Mr Bean, Baked Beans, Baked Beans with sausages, Baked Beans on Toast with a sprinkle of Cheddar Cheese, How-you-bean mate !, I have a headache just thinking of such wonders of nature. Ralph

  3. okay you got me on the cranberry bean…I think they must taste sweet?
    I have a bean I am growing(still going wild) I got it from a friend..it’s and heirloom one…
    and have no ideal the name dates back to this families farm from the 1800’s…
    your exercise made me think I should find out what kind it is….(taste delicious with jalopena (too late to know the spelling)cornbread,,,,,
    and…I will definitly have to find out what cranberry beans are…
    black-eyed peas are close to Southerns heart…New Years day we have them for good luck into the new year..and more than I can write…, but I’m tired and need to go to bed..
    Thank you Howard for the very kind and beautiful words you left for me…
    I appreciate them more than you know….
    Take Care….
    You Matter…..

    • Ms. Lady….Thank you for stopping by. I always appreciate it when someone takes the time to comment. Cranberry beans are new to me too. I just know that they are in my grocery in the dry bean section. Cute beans….sort of reddish–purple streaks on them. Not certain about the taste. I am now going to have to find out…a couple of folks have commented about them and I don’t know the answer. BTW…I love jalapeno cornbread and black eyed peas…..yes, I live in the south!! Love your blog too….!!!
      Be well,

    • VBG….Well, beans are not the most glamorous of vegetables. I think we take them for granted too often. Maybe I overestimated the number of folks who still think beans are staple food items…??

    • Yeah, a little strange I will admit!! Here (in NC..) you can usually find them at Food Lion (dry beans..). I think they are an Italian bean of some sort. Sort of pretty. Reddish-purple streaks. Don’t know what they look like when cooked…??

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