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The 'Bean' family includes many and varied varieties of legume. (pea, soybean, lentil, etc.) The vanilla bean is unrelated.

Beans are a valuable food for vegetarians because they contain protein. They are also able to be dried and stored for long periods of time without harm, and then reconstituted simply by soaking and cooking. Many varieties of bean are only used in this way. Others are eaten fresh and steamed or boiled before use, needing much less preparation.

Beans and Flatulence

One thing beans are renowned for is causing farting. This is because dried beans contain indigestible sugars and starches which ferment in your gut. Soaking and simmering with repeated water changes will eliminate this problem. Start by soaking the beans overnight in the refrigerator. Change the water, simmer for an hour, change the water, simmer for another hour, change the water... for a total of 4 to 6 hours.

Peas (including black-eye peas and chickpeas) are also members of the legume family, but they do not contain the indigestible sugars and starches that cause farting.

This problem is much more objectionable when beans (causing gas volume) are combined with a sulfur source (causing a strong smell). Sulfur sources include egg yolks and pale dried fruit.


Legumes are used around the world, and are especially popular in India and the Middle-East.

They can be used in a wide variety of ways, including

  • Soups, such as mulligatawny and split pea soup

  • Indian dal

  • Bean salad

  • Fermented into products such as soy sauce and miso. See soy.

  • They are frequently added to rasam

Varieties of Beans

Please see the individual listings for more information about each variety.

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