Also known as
Navy beans, Boston beans, Pearl haricot beans.
Haricot beans are small dry white beans which are a staple in baked bean dishes along with soups and chilis. There are numerous alternate names for haricot beans including Boston beans, navy beans, pearl haricots, and fagioli. The beans are roughly oval shaped and flattened, with a pure white edible skin. The flavor of haricot beans is relatively bland. Vegetarians in particular use haricot beans extensively, and they can supplement and enrich an assortment of dishes. These small white beans are perfect for making baked beans. Dry navy beans are available year-round in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins. Canned navy beans are also available year round at local markets.
Soaked Haricot beans
The beans will cook more quickly and be easier to digest if they are soaked first. Soaking helps to soften the outer skin of the bean, allowing the beans to absorb more water and break down as they cook. Undercooked beans can cause intestinal distress and the infamous "toot" associated with excessive bean consumption, so make sure that the beans are all the way cooked before you serve them.
How to select
While selecting haricot beans in the market, avoid beans which are discolored, as they may have been poorly handled while they dried. When you are ready to use the beans, first rinse them and pick through the rinsed beans to remove small stones and organic material which may have been packaged with them. Unlike canned vegetables, which have lost much of their nutritional value, there is little difference in the nutritional value of canned haricot beans and those you cook yourself.
· Make a delicious sandwich spread by blending cooked haricot beans in a food processor with olive or flax oil and your favorite herbs and spices.
· Add a protein punch to tomato soup by serving it with some pre-cooked haricot beans mixed throughout.
· Mix cooked haricot beans with olive oil, sage and garlic and serve on bruschetta.
· Combine the beans with cooked roasted buckwheat and healthy sautéed onions and shiitake mushrooms for a hearty main dish.
· Use the beans to make delicious and nutritious white chili.
· Add cooked and cooled beans to a salad of leeks and chard and top with a rosemary vinaigrette.
How to store
Like other dried beans, haricot beans will keep for a year or more when stored in a cool dry place out of the sunlight.
· The beans are rich in protein, folic acid, iron, B complex, and magnesium,so they are an excellent addition to a healthy diet.
· Combined with whole grains such as rice, navy beans provide virtually fat-free high quality protein
· Dried haricot beans, a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Not only can they help lower cholesterol, they are also of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal.
· Dried beans also provide good to excellent amounts of four important minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein--all with virtually no fat.
· Haricot beans, like other legumes, are rich in soluble fiber
· They are a good source of potassium, which may decrease the growth and development of blood vessel plaques and is also good for lowering high blood pressure.