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Grow Non-GMO Potatoes at Home

(HealthCastle.com) Potatoes are a staple of the North American diet. Unfortunately, many of the potatoes we buy in grocery stores have been genetically-modified or treated with chemicals to prevent them from sprouting.

The good news is that potatoes are very easy to grow at home – even if you don’t have a yard – and you can start with organic seed potatoes to ensure you’re getting the nutritional value the potato was meant to offer. Plus, once you’ve tasted fresh new potatoes steamed and tossed with a drizzle of olive oil and parsley or mint, you’ll be hooked.

Here’s how to grow your own non-GMO potatoes at home.

Where to Find Starter Potatoes

Potatoes are not grown from seeds. Instead, they are grown from “seed potatoes,” which are simply potatoes that have begun to sprout. You can buy seed potatoes at most garden shops, and there are many sources available online (search for “seed potatoes” plus your state or province to find a local source). Check the packaging of the seed potatoes, or ask the supplier, to ensure you are buying non-GMO spuds.

You might think you could just wait for a grocery store potato to sprout and pop it into the ground. Unfortunately, grocery store potatoes are unlikely ever to produce new potatoes, as they have been treated specifically to make this impossible. These treatments increase the shelf-life of potatoes in storage, preventing them from growing sprouts and going soft, but they mean that the potatoes are incapable of reproducing.

You can try planting organic potatoes purchased from a grocery store, but the results may not be what you are expecting. Potatoes are prone to several diseases that can build up from generation to generation. These are not issues that will make people sick, but they do impact the potatoes’ ability to reproduce. Seed potatoes are usually checked to make sure they do not carry any of these diseases that will impact your potato yield. Check with your supplier to ensure the seed potatoes you buy are “certified disease-free.”

Grow Non-GMO Potatoes at Home

How to Grow Potatoes in a Small Space

If you have a yard with a veggie patch, you can plant your potatoes the traditional way – burying them in the soil and “hilling up” soil on top to create a small hill or mound where your potatoes will grow.

If you don’t have a yard, or if you just don’t want to take up a lot of space growing potatoes, you can grow them in a container on your balcony or porch. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Choose a relatively tall container. You can buy specialty potato-growing bags, but you can also use fabric shopping bags, or even a large (new) trash can with holes drilled into the bottom and sides for drainage.
     
  2. Place about 3 inches inches of soil in the bottom of your container, place seed potatoes on top (about 4-6″ apart), and cover them with about 3 more inches of soil.
     
  3. When the potato plants start to grow, add more soil. A good rule of thumb is to wait until the plants grow a foot, then add six inches of soil. Repeat this step until your container is full. The potatoes grow on the parts of the plant that you cover.
     
  4. Water your potatoes regularly to keep them healthy, but ensure they don’t get waterlogged. You’ll be amazed at how large the plants will grow! They are actually quite attractive plants, and even produce small flowers.
     
  5. Once the greenery of your potato plant starts to turn brown and fall over, it is time to harvest your potatoes. The easiest method is to dump out the whole container onto a tarp or garbage bag and collect the potatoes.
     
  6. Be gentle when cleaning your potatoes. They will not have tough skins like those found at the grocery store. Lightly brush off the soil, give them a quick rinse, and enjoy!
     

Variations

  • Straw instead of soil: After the first six inches or so of soil, you can top up your container with straw instead of soil. This means your container will be much less heavy when full, which may be a good thing for smaller balconies. It also means you potatoes will be cleaner and easier to harvest.
     
  • Potato “condo”: If you’re a little bit handy (or you know someone who is), and you want a really big potato yield, you can try building a potato condo. Basically, it’s a tall wooden box that you build as you add more soil, giving you a huge amount of space in which to grow your potatoes, with a very small footprint.

The Bottom Line

Potatoes are surprisingly easy to grow and need very little attention other than some watering. They don’t need to take up much space, and the plants are even nice to look at. Plus, at the end of the season, you’ll end up with a delicious harvest of non-GMO potatoes. Just wait until you taste them!

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Why “Natural” May Not Be Good For You

(HealthCastle.com) The labels practically shout out from every shelf: “made from natural ingredients,” or, in one of our more recent finds, made with “all-natural oil.” Is there any merit to something that is labeled natural on the store shelves-

?Why?”Natural” May Not Mean Much

First and foremost, the term “natural” is not regulated. Therefore, the term on its own is meaningless and doesn’t confer any automatic health or nutritional benefit. Our example above with the “all-natural oil” was actually a bag of Cheetos with an ingredient list 14 lines long. Made with natural oil- Yes – it says “vegetable oil (corn, canola, soybean, and/or sunflower oil).”? But the same bag also contains partially hydrogenated oils, as well as Red 40 lake, Yellow 6 lake, Yellow 6, and Yellow 5 in the seasoning mix. There’s nothing natural about these!

Why "Natural" May Not Be Good For You

Recently, Kashi cereal buyers were up in arms over the finding that some Kashi?breakfast cereal products contain genetically modified ingredients despite being marketed as natural. Again, this is another example of fancy but meaningless “natural” marketing. In all fairness, Kashi never marketed themselves as “non-GMO” or “organic.” They only focus on being “natural.” This Kashi episode really exposed a big loophole in our labeling regulations: ?What’s natural- ?Should we impose restrictions on when and how companies can market a “natural” claim-?

We also discussed nitrite-free ham, which is sometimes marketed as natural ham. While the producers claim not to use any sodium nitrite in the making of the ham, they use celery juice extract or celery powder as a substitute, which contains high amounts of naturally occurring nitrates. Should high-sodium processed luncheon ham, cured using processed celery powder, be allowed to be called “natural ham”- We don’t think so, and it’s time for us to advocate that our labeling agencies regulate the “natural” claim!

The Bottom Line

Food that comes pre-packaged and can sit for a long while without spoiling requires a certain amount of processing to have such an extended shelf life. However, there is no need to despair; natural snacks that are office-drawer friendly do exist. Think of dried or freeze-dried fruits or vegetables, nuts and seeds, or dry roasted seaweed.

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Reduce Your Water Footprint Through Mindful Eating

(HealthCastle.com) March 22 is World Water Day. The United Nations declared World Water Day in 1993, and every March 22 since, they have focused their efforts on implementing recommendations that impact the world’s water resources.

Every year, there is also a theme so that people around the world can learn about issues related to the world water supply, including ways to protect and preserve it. This year’s theme is “Water and Food Security.” The goal is to focus on creating food security for the world’s growing population by reducing the amount of water needed to produce the foods we eat every day. 

World Water Day organizers are asking people around the world to take four simple actions to reduce the amount of water needed to produce the food we eat:

  1. Consume less water-intensive products.
  2. Reduce food wastage.
  3. Produce more food, of better quality, with less water.
  4. Follow a healthier diet.

We talk about eating a healthier diet every day on HealthCastle.com, so today we’ll focus on points 1 and 2: consuming less water-intensive products and reducing food wastage. The good news is that both of these actions actually lead to healthier eating!

Consume Less Water-Intensive Products

The excellent news about focusing on consuming less water-intensive food products is that it puts you on a path to eating healthier. Here are two key ways to do it.

Eat Less Processed Food

Manufacturing processed food consumes huge amounts of water. For one thing, water is used to create the plastic many processed foods are packed in: 24 gallons of water are needed to create one pound of plastic. Plus, it’s used in the processing itself. It takes 9 gallons of water to process just one can of fruit or vegetables, 1 gallon to process a quarter pound of hamburger, and over 28,000 gallons to process one ton of sugarcane into sugar. (For reference, running your dishwasher consumes 9-12 gallons of water.)

Eat More Vegetables

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,  it takes 15,000 liters of water to produce one kilo of beef, but only 1,500 liters to produce one kilo of wheat. It’s clear that meat products take much more water per ounce to create than veggies. You don’t have to stop eating meat, but remember that the meat serving should only occupy one-quarter of your plate.

Reduce Food Wastage

Thirty percent of the food worldwide is never eaten. That wastes both critical food resources and the water used to produce them. Closer to home, food waste also needlessly bumps up your grocery budget. Here are some easy ways to cut back on food waste in your kitchen.

Think About Portion Size

If your recipe says it serves 6, and you’re a household of 2, try cutting the recipe in half to avoid excessive overeating. This also helps you avoid a freezer full of leftovers that never get eaten. On that note…

Check the Freezer Before You Order Takeout

Just about everyone’s freezer has some leftovers waiting to be eaten, so make it a habit to check for easy-to-heat-up dinner options before dialing for greasy pizza. You’ll get a healthier dinner, and less of your leftovers will go to waste.

Shop With a List

Grocery shop with a list based on what you plan to eat that week so you’re not tempted by items that are on sale but that you don’t know how to use, or don’t like to eat, which may end up getting shoved to the back of the fridge and going to waste. You’ll also avoid buying tempting junk food products that you either avoid (and waste) out of guilt, or end up scarfing down at the end of a hard day.

Act Like Your Grandmother and Save Scraps

We routinely throw out all kinds of things our grandmothers would have found ways to use. The three easiest ways to reduce waste by thinking like Grandma are: 

  1. Don’t toss veggie scraps: Instead of throwing out vegetable scraps like carrot and potato peels, keep them in a bag or container in the fridge until you have enough to make veggie stock.
     
  2. Save butter wrappers: When you are finished with a stick of butter, fold the wrapper into quarters and put it in the freezer. The next time you bake, you’ll have the perfect amount of butter ready to go to grease your pan.
     
  3. Repurpose stale bread: If you don’t finish bread before it goes stale, throw it into the freezer. You can use it later in stuffing, or run it through the food processor to make breadcrumbs. Or, go for a traditional use of stale bread and make bread pudding for dessert. 

Take Advantage of Modern Gadgets 

From apps for your smartphone to specialized food storage items, there are plenty of modern ways to ensure the food you buy stays fresh until you have a chance to eat it.

The Bottom Line

Reducing the amount of water used to produce the foods you eat is surprisingly simple, and if you focus on healthy eating, you’re moving in the right direction, since healthier foods tend to require less water to produce. Try incorporating a few steps to reduce food wastage, too, and you’ll be helping to preserve the world’s water supply and trimming your grocery budget. If you want to calculate your water footprint, you can do so at H2OConserve.org.

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Vegetarian Meat: Make Your Own Wheat Gluten

(HealthCastle.com) If you’re vegetarian, or just looking to reduce your meat intake, you probably eat a lot of tofu or soy products. It’s an easy-to-find vegetarian protein source that can relatively easily be used in place of meat. But the truth is, its texture is not firm enough to work with. That’s where wheat gluten comes in. Like tofu, wheat gluten is a vegetarian protein source that originated in Asia. Unlike tofu, however, wheat gluten (sometimes called “wheat meat”) has a satisfying, firmer texture that makes it work in ways tofu never could – like, for example, on the grill.

You can find wheat gluten in some Asian grocery stores (it may be labeled “seitan”), but it is not sold at major chain stores in North America. Fortunately, it’s very easy and inexpensive to make your own wheat gluten at home.

Note: Those who have celiac disease or other gluten sensitivities should not eat wheat gluten.

How to Make Your Own “Wheat Meat”

Ingredients and Tools Needed:

  • all-purpose flour
  • whole wheat flour
  • veggie stock
  • a large mixing bowl

Here’s How to Make Enough Wheat Gluten to Serve 4 People:

?Instructions:

  1. Combine two cups all-purpose flour and two cups whole wheat flour in a bowl.
  2. Add just enough water to make a dough.
  3. Place the dough on a floured counter or cutting board and knead for about 20 minutes to fully develop the gluten.
  4. Place the dough ball in a bowl, cover with water, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  5. Remove the dough from the fridge, pour out the soaking water, and cover with lukewarm water.
  6. Knead the gluten under the water. The water will turn very white. After about five minutes, pour out the water and refill the bowl. Keep kneading (and replacing the water) until the water no longer turns white.
  7. Pinch or cut the gluten into the size and shape desired (keeping in mind that it will grow to about twice its size in the next step).
  8. Add the gluten pieces to a pot of boiling veggie stock, making sure they are fully covered. Simmer for about two hours. You may need to top up the stock as the gluten soaks it up.

That’s it. You now have your own, homemade vegetarian “wheat meat” with an excellent texture, and it cost just pennies to make. You can store the gluten in the simmering liquid for up to a week in the fridge.

Use the Starch to Make Noodles

The milky white water from the first stage of rinsing can be saved and used to make noodles. Simply pour the water through cheese cloth into a large container and put it in the fridge overnight to allow the starch to settle at the bottom. Carefully pour most of the clear water off the top, leaving about 1 cup of liquid. Stir the starch and liquid together, then pour into a lightly oiled shallow pan. Place the pan in a wok or over a large pot to steam the noodle mixture until it turns opaque. Remove from heat and float the pan in cold water until the noodle sheet cools, then carefully remove the sheet from the pan, coat both sides very lightly with oil, cut into strips, and serve.

The Bottom Line

It’s always handy to have alternative sources of protein, especially if you’re entertaining vegetarian dinner guests. Wheat gluten can be used just like meat in most recipes, and has a more satisfying texture than the usual vegetarian standby.

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Books We Love: MyPlate for Moms

(HealthCastle.com) Busy family schedule- Stressed about what to feed yourself and the whole family- Last night, we chatted about Getting Your Plate in Shape in our monthly #GoUnDiet Twitter party. Today, we want to introduce you to the book MyPlate for Moms: How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better by Elizabeth M. Ward, MS, RD. If you are the type of person who enjoys lots of detailed references packed into an easy-to-access format, this is the right book for you. And kudos to the author for actually dedicating a whole chapter to physical activity – including strategies to overcome excuses for not exercising, getting the whole family into regular physical activity, and differentiating between physical activity and exercise. (“All exercise is physical activity, but not all physical activity is exercise.” We could not have said it better ourselves!) There is also a list of actual physical activity ideas that will get you the recommended weekly 150 minutes of “moderate-intensity and muscle-strengthening activities.” Many nutrition books we see simply say “get some exercise” without further details, and this is one area of the book that definitely distinguishes it from the others. 

If you are a regular visitor to HealthCastle.com, you will already be familiar with many healthy eating points raised in the book and will probably use those sections as a quick refresher. If you want to put what you already know about healthy eating into practice, check out Chapter 9’s easy, healthy, and tasty recipes, such as Pistachio Chicken, Egg and Artichoke Pie. The “In A Blender” section includes good ideas for changing up the flavors in your regular smoothies, such as Cherry Vanilla Freeze and Cinnamon Pumpkin Smoothie. There is also a chapter dedicated to discussing MyPlate strategies for moms-to-be and kids, which includes smart snack ideas and closing nutrient gaps (between what kids eat too much of and not enough of).

Author: ?Elizabeth M. Ward, MS, RD

?Website: ?MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better

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You Can Cook: Farro

(HealthCastle.com) If you enjoy discovering new whole grains to add to your meal rotations, this month’s whole grain should give you a new way of enjoying wheat. Farro is the talian name for an ancient wheat strain known as emmer wheat. It is sometimes confused with spelt, but is actually an older strain than spelt. Farro is available whole (intact grain), cracked (whole grain cracked into smaller pieces), pearled (perlato), or semi-pearled (semi-perlato). Go for the whole or cracked form, where the grain – including the bran – is still intact. Otherwise, choose semi-pearled because it still retains more of the bran (where the nutrients and fiber are found) than the pearled version.

You Can Cook: Farro

?You Can Cook Farro

Starting Amount: 1/2 cup raw

You Can Cook: Farro

Pre-Soaking Requirement: ?Yes. Most suggests soaking whole farro overnight. We only soaked for 1 hour. It turned out alright!

?Pre-Rinsing Requirement: ?Yes for whole farro. Rinse pre-soaked grains under running water, then drain.

?Cooking Liquid: 1 cup water ?(or 1.5 cups for cooking whole farro)

Cooking Time: Add pre-soaked, pre-rinsed farro to water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. If you did not soak it overnight, simmer for about 40 minutes. The kernels should be tender but not split, and they should have a nice chewiness instead of being mushy. Drain, rinse, and use.

?Resulting Yield: 1 cup

You Can Cook: Farro

?Nutritional Information (per 1/2 cup cooked farro)

  • Calories: ?160 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 32 g
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Fat: 1.5 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Glycemic Index (GI): ?Low
  • Gluten-free: ?No

?How to Add More Farro to Your Diet

Tell Us: How do you usually eat farro-

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Giveaway: A Cool HINT Set

Giveaway: A Cool HINT SetAbout HealthCastle.com

HealthCastle, founded in 1997, is the largest online nutrition community run by Registered Dietitians. Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or dietitian. Information and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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Spring Planting for a Nutritious Veggie Garden

(HealthCastle.com) Depending on where you live, you may still be firmly under winter’s grasp, or the early signs of spring may be, so to speak, in full bloom. No matter what weather you’re facing, one thing is certain: If you love gardening, you’re starting to get excited. It’s time to start thinking about what tasty treats you’ll grow in your own garden this year, and in many areas it’s even time to start putting seeds in the ground!

I’m a firm believer in gardening in whatever space you have, whether it’s growing sprouts on your kitchen counter, a few pots of tomatoes and peppers on a balcony or fire escape, or an extensive in-ground garden in your yard or a community garden plot.

So, what healthy veggies can you start planting now- Here are our top picks for planting in early spring:

Top 5 Veggie Picks for Early Spring Planting

Broad Beans (also called fava beans)

Broad beans are one of the first food crops to be planted in the spring – in mild areas as early as February. The plants produce lovely, orchid-like flowers that are replaced by huge pods of large beans. The beans are a bit of work to prepare, as they must be shelled, blanched, and then “shelled” again to remove the thin skin of each bean. But the work is worth it for this tasty early spring treat that provides protein, iron, fiber, manganese, folate, and magnesium.

Arugula (sometimes called rocket)

These spicy greens can be planted in early March in milder areas, and soon after in cooler climates. Arugula adds a lovely bite to salads, and can be used in cooked recipes, too. It thrives in the still-cool weather of early springtime, and provides fiber, calcium, iron, and Vitamins A, C, and K.

Kale

When we talk about dark green leafy vegetables, kale is one of the first to come to mind, and it’s also one of the first to go into the ground. Kale does best in the cool weather, having a better flavor than when it gets too hot. It can be used raw in salads, or cooked, especially in soups and pasta dishes. Kale is just packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals, including calcium, potassium, manganese, and Vitamins A, C, K, and B6.

Peas

Peas are the sweetest of the early spring vegetables, and among the most hardy. Both shelling peas (which you remove from the pod) and sugar or snap peas (where you eat the whole pod) can be planted now, but if you plant both make sure to label them well so you know which is which once they come up! Fresh peas are one of the true joys of home gardening. These tasty morsels provide fiber, manganese, and Vitamins A, B6, C, and K.

Radishes

One of my favorite things about growing radishes is the sheer variety available to plant. You can choose from a rainbow of colors and a multitude of shapes – and straight out of the ground they are so much tastier than the sometimes woody and watery versions you buy in the store. The greens from radishes can be saved as well and used to add a spicy, radishy flavor to salads or cooked dishes. Radishes provide fiber, potassium, calcium, and Vitamins B6 and C, while the greens have the added benefits of protein, iron, and Vitamin K.

Veggies to Start Indoors

If it’s still just too chilly in your area to face the thought of planting seeds directly in the ground, all of these veggies can be started inside and transplanted once it’s a little warmer. For best results, use peat pots or fill toilet paper rolls with potting soil. This allows you to plant the whole starter pot in the ground and avoid disturbing the young seedling’s roots.

If it’s warm enough to do your spring planting, but you’re hungry for more, you can start getting ready for summer by starting peppers and tomatoes indoors on a hot, sunny windowsill.

The Bottom Line

For gardening addicts, spring and summer can’t some soon enough. Get a jump on your nutritious spring veggie garden by planting these early-season crops, and enjoy the fruits of your labor well before summer has arrived.

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Arugula – Food of the Month

(HealthCastle.com) In celebration of spring and sustainable eating, we thought it would be appropriate to highlight a vegetable you can grow in a pot without a lot of work. Arugula, our pick this month, is a dark green leafy vegetable with many names including rocket, roquette, rucola, eruca, or rocket salad. It grows well in a mild, cool springtime setting with some sun.

If you are not a gardener, you may only have come across arugula as one of the many irregularly shaped green leaves in a pre-packaged salad mix you find in the grocery store cooler section. More recently, packages or bunches of arugula have become more available for purchase.

Nutrition Tidbits for Arugula

1 cup of raw arugula contains:

  • Calories: 5 kcal
  • Fat: 0.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.7 g
  • Protein: 0.5 g
  • Fiber: 0.3 g
  • Glycemic Index (GI): Low

The numbers show that arugula is an ultra low-calorie vegetable that is high in Vitamin K and a good source of Vitamin A. More recently, it has been shown to contain many different phytonutrients that are potent antioxidants, including glucosinolates and sulforaphane. Sulforaphane appears to have a strong protective effect on DNA. Other studies have identified anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer effects of the plant. With so much antioxidant capacity in an almost calorie-free package, it is time for this leafy green to start making frequent appearances in our meals!

If you choose to buy arugula instead of growing it, make sure you pick smooth leaves with no slimy spots or edges and use soon after purchase. Because of arugula’s nice spicy, peppery bite, it does well in salads that have contrasting textures and flavors. If you are new to arugula and aren’t sure how much “spicy” is too much, you can always use half arugula and half spinach to start. Arugula can also be quickly sauteed or blanched, then added to pasta dishes, casseroles, pizza, stew, or soup. Cooked arugula has a milder flavor than raw arugula. Fans of pesto can easily use arugula in place of basil for a nice change in flavor.

How to Add More Arugula Into Your Diet

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Lesser-Known Beans Showcase

(HealthCastle.com) Beans as a group have demonstrated many health benefits. But beyond red kidney beans in chili or black beans in tacos, what lesser-known beans are out there, and which types of dishes are they best suited to- 

5 Lesser-Known Beans: Which Beans for Which Dishes-

Mung Bean

Typically found in the Asian section of your grocery store, dried mung beans are oval and are olive-green (with skin on) or yellow (with skin off). These tiny legumes are popular in the cuisines of China, South Asia (e.g., Bangladesh, India, Pakistan) and Southeast Asia (e.g., Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines). North Americans are probably most familiar with the sprouted form of mung bean – the “bean sprouts” found in Chinese stir-fried noodles or  Oriental-style salads, but mung beans are found in many cooked traditional dishes, both savory and sweet. Filipinos make a mung bean stew with shrimp or fish, while Chinese and many Southeast Asian cuisines include a dessert drink or soup from mung beans cooked with sugar, water or coconut milk, and ginger or pandan leaves. Mung beans can also be cooked into pancakes or turned into a sweet paste and used as a pastry filling. Mung bean starch is also made into glassy noodles.

Baby Lima Beans

Listed by the US Dry Beans Council as one of the beans grown in the United States, baby limas are creamy-colored and have a buttery flavor. (“Non-baby” lima beans are also called butterbeans.) They can be used in stews, soups, and casseroles, or simply cooked with seasonings, such as these Baby Lima Beans Braised in Lemon. If you prefer a thicker, creamier-tasting soup, but don’t want the extra fat that comes from added cream, puree about a cup of the lima beans called for in the recipe and add the pureed beans back into the soup.

Fava Beans

Also known as broad beans, fava beans are in season in the spring. They have a long history dating back to Roman times as a staple, and are regularly found in Middle Eastern dishes. For example, a dish called ful mesdames (alternate ful madames or ful medames) is a popular Egyptian fava bean dish eaten for breakfast, made heartier when served with eggs. Fava beans can also be served with potatoes and greens, as in this Mashed Fava Beans with Potatoes and Chicory.

You can use frozen or canned fava beans for ease of preparation, but true enthusiasts claim the flavor does not compare to fresh fava beans. When shopping for fresh beans, choose the farmers’s market over the grocery store, as they start to lose their flavor once picked. Traditional preparation of fresh fava beans is rather time consuming, as they have to be shelled, and then each individual bean’s protective “skin” removed before they can be cooked and eaten. However, a new trend is to grill the beans and serve them right from their pods with the skin on.

Anasazi Beans

Anasazi beans were cultivated by the ancient Pueblo civilization in the American Southwest and are related to pinto beans. They have a shape like kidney beans, but with white and purple speckles for color. Not surprisingly, they do best in dishes with a Southwestern twist, such as tamales and enchiladas, instead of soups. A simple way to prepare anasazi beans is to make frijoles.

?The Bottom Line

We know that beans and lentils collectively offer many health benefits, but if you are tired of the same beans, these lesser-known ones give you a chance to experiment and find new favorites.  

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