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A bowl full of beans

By Staff
WHAT A CHOICE A bowl of steaming 16-bean soup adds to any meal. Beans are a source of many nutrients, including carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals, and dietary fiber. They are low in fat and, like all plant foods, contain no cholesterol. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
Aug. 6, 2003
The old adage says "an apple a day keeps the doctor away."
But instead of apples, try substituting beans.
The American Cancer Society says that many beans are high in fiber and folic acid, which are proven to reduce the risk of cancer.
In addition, new research has shown that eating foods that are high in folic acid could help prevent some birth defects.
Blackeye peas, one of many different varieties of beans, are also a good source of protein, iron and complex carbohydrates.
The cream-colored small bean with a "black eye" came to the United States from Africa. Because of their distinctive flavor, blackeyes continue to be the preferred pea-bean of the South.
An old Southern legend claims that eating blackeyes on New Year's Day will bring good luck for the entire year.
But don't limit yourself to just New Year's Day. Blackeyes can spice-up any dish. For instance, try blackeye burritos or a pasta with warm blackeye salsa.
Also on the healthy bean list are baby limas. Baby limas don't have a distinctive flavor and that's what makes them so versatile and adaptable the perfect bean for many recipes.
When cooked and seasoned properly, baby limas will make a delicious and nutritious addition to your meal.
Baby limas are grown mainly in the sunny valleys of California, and known for their ability to take on the flavors of meats and seasonings with which they are cooked.
They can add excellent nutritional qualities to soups, salads and entres.
Not matter what bean you crave, always remember when purchasing dry beans to look for a light, bright color which indicates freshness. Broken and split beans are of poorer quality and will not cook evenly.
Find brands you like and stick with them. Since canned and dry beans store wonderfully, stock up on your favorite and experiment with new ones.
And don't forget to soak. The traditional soak is one pound of washed beans to six cups cold water. Soak 10 hours or overnight.