April 6, 2017 12:03 pm 7 Comments
We’ve had Alt facts, we’ve had Alt news. Now, we give you: Alt beans.
Beans have a real variety of names – what we call a bean by in the UK can be completely different to what it’s known as in the US, or in Europe. It can make it a little difficult sometimes when you’re searching for a particular bean, although we’ve tried to build alternative names into our search engine. And online recipe forums are full of people asking ‘are garbanzo beans the same as chick peas?’ and the like.
To clear up some of the confusion, we’re showcasing some of the Alt beans we stock at Naturally Good Food, with a few of their Alt names!
These lovely, waxy, filling beans are also known as ‘lima’ beans. Great in bakes, where they’re a real hefty mouthful.
These are haricot beans in the UK, but ‘navy’ beans in the US. They’re the classic ingredient in Boston Baked Beans.
This wonderful name for these little round balls translates into ‘chickpeas’ in the UK, while in other parts of the world, they’re known as Egyptian peas. (If you’re having difficulty finding chickpeas on our search engine, try typing in ‘chick pea’ with a space.) And of course, the flour obtained from grinding chickpeas, when it’s not called chickpea flour or garbanzo bean flour, is best known as (Bengal) gram flour.
Aduki, Azuki and Adzuki
Sounding like a set of triplets in a children’s story, these are actually all the same bean: small and red and the perfect ingredient for one of our favourite recipes: red dragon pie.
These exotic-sounding Alt beans are in fact what we’re more used in the UK to calling ‘broad beans’.
Another exotic name, which translates more mundanely in British usage to ‘marrowfat peas’. As served in fish and chip shops as mushy peas (or, in urban myths, to politicians as guacamole).
These are a variety of kidney bean and are often referred to as ‘light speckled kidney’ beans. We love these in vegan, Mexican-style dishes.
Black turtle beans
These distinctive brown-black beans are also known as ‘small black kidney beans’, again, due to their relationship to this pulse family.
While we’re on the subject, these beans, one of the most commonly used kinds of white bean in the UK, have as their other name ‘white kidney beans’.
Leaving aside the question of whether to hyphenate ‘black-eye’ or not (the correct answer is yes), or whether it’s ‘black-eye’ or ‘black-eyed’ (the jury’s out), you’ll be relieved to know that black-eyed beans are just the same as black-eyed peas. And are especially tasty in a bean and vegetable gratin.
Soy beans, soybeans, soya beans and soyabeans are all exactly the same thing! It’s generally soy in the US and soya in the UK, though usage is beginning to alter. Baby soyabeans, meanwhile, are sold as ‘edamame beans’.
Black badger peas
We stock these British-grown peas from Hodmedod’s. It’s a great name, more evocative than the other names for these peas: Carlin peas and Maple peas.
Alt beans: why so many different names?
The Alt beans and peas above are just a taster! Look up any bean or pea online, and you’ll find a number of alternative names. There’s a very good reason for this. Pulses – beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas – are a basic nutritional element around the globe, the building blocks of ancient and modern healthy diets. No one area or country has ever had a monopoly on pulses, and in each region, they have been given individual names. While some names have become more widespread, the alternatives ones persist.
It may be a nightmare for search engines, but it’s a blessing for our bodies! Pulses are one of the best forms of protein, fibre, minerals and vitamins you can find. The fact that they’re so easy to find, wherever you are in the world, and whatever name you give them, makes them one of the very best things to add to your diet.
Click here to see all our pulses.
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This post was written by Yzanne