The so-called Russian, or horse, beans are found during excavations along with objects dating back to the Bronze Age. They were one of the first crops that humans began to grow. The Bible says that beans were cultivated in Palestine during the reign of Solomon, a thousand years BC.
Various things have happened over the long legume history. In ancient Egypt, they were treated with superstitious fear. The priests were forbidden to eat beans, since the black spots on the white petals of bean flowers seemed to the Egyptians as a seal of death, and the bean itself was its symbol. Some fears remained with the Greeks, who, on the one hand, willingly prepared all kinds of dishes from beans, on the other hand, growing, selling or buying beans, just in case, sacrificed to the gods.
For the ancient Romans, beans were one of the most important foods. Even the Latin name speaks for this. faba, borrowed from Greek and meaning "food, food". They were considered the food of the poor. Every year, eminent Romans elected as judges had to arrange a special festival, during which, as they drove around the city, they threw handfuls of beans into the crowd. And during the battles of gladiators in the Roman circus, they sold hearty and cheap beans, much like our pies or ice cream.
The wealthy aristocratic Fabia family descended from wealthy bean farmers and owes their surname to them. In this glorious family was the famous writer and commander Guy Fabius Maximus, who avoided battles in every possible way and strove to win the war with Hannibal by starvation, for which he received the nickname "Kunktator" - the procrastinator.
On the territory of Germany, beans were used even before our era, but, apparently, did not enjoy much love. The singer of the Middle Ages, the troubadour Walter von Vogelweide, in one of his songs, calls them disgusting food.
In European countries, the custom has been preserved to bake a bean into a New Year's cake. The "lucky man" who gets a piece of the bean pie becomes the bean king. He has the right to choose a queen for himself and to dispose of the whole holiday, even if he was the youngest in the family.
Our ancestors, the Slavs, very much appreciated beans and prepared all kinds of dishes from them. But in the XVIII-XIX centuries on the territory of Russia they almost ceased to be eaten. Bean crops dropped sharply as potatoes spread. Currently, summer residents enthusiastically set about making up for lost time. However, the rather long growing season (it takes 100 days or more for the beans to ripen) makes it difficult for the beans to move north. On the other hand, we are more fond of beans, which almost supplanted them.
Vegetable beans (Vicia faba) - an annual herb of the legume family, with a straight stem, paired leaves and white flowers with black velvety spots on the wings. Fruits - beans, their length is from 4 to 20 cm (depending on the variety). The inner surface of the valves of sugar varieties does not have a parchment layer, while varieties grown for grain have such a layer. The seeds are large, flat, of various colors in different varieties: light pink, green, brown, dark purple.
Plant on the site
Growing beans on your site is a snap. Given our short summer, the seeds are soaked like beans and sown in well-warmed soil at the end of May. The site needs to be chosen bright, protected from cold winds. Although beans can absorb nitrogen from the nodule bacteria, it is best to provide them with food for harvesting. Maintenance is the simplest - weeding and loosening. And harvesting as it ripens.
A source of essential amino acids
The nutritional value of beans is superior to almost all common vegetables.They are very high in protein (up to 35%) and carbohydrates (55%), they provide 6 times more calories than cabbage, and 3.5 times more than potatoes. Bean protein is very digestible. It contains essential amino acids: arginine, histidine, methionine, lysine, etc., which is of particular importance, since these amino acids are not synthesized in the body of animals and humans.
The seeds also contain vitamin C, B vitamins, provitamin A, and various enzymes. A rather interesting substance was found in beans - ubiquinone, which has a lot of useful properties in cardiovascular diseases and metabolic disorders in the body. Ubiquinone is added to anti-wrinkle creams, and the ancient Romans applied a mask of ground beans to their faces.
In folk medicine, mashed boiled beans or a decoction of them are used as an astringent and anti-inflammatory agent for diarrhea. The seeds, ground and boiled in milk, are applied to the abscesses to accelerate ripening. Infusions and decoctions of flowers are used in household cosmetics for washing the face.
Like beans and peas, beans are hormone-like. Bulgarian phytotherapist P. Dimkov recommends beans for fibroids. To do this, they must be roasted, ground on a coffee grinder and brewed like Turkish coffee in a Turk. Drink a cup after meals.
Not suitable for a raw food diet
Both green beans and mature seeds are eaten, only boiled. They are also used for the preparation of canned food. Seed flour is sometimes added to bread made from wheat flour. But people with gout should not eat beans or canned beans because they contain significant amounts of purines. In no case should you eat raw or poorly cooked beans, as they contain toxic substances that are destroyed during heat treatment.
The literature describes many cases of raw beans poisoning. Signs of acute poisoning are headache, frequent vomiting, yellowness of the sclera, and brown urine staining. The latter is associated with significant destruction of red blood cells (red blood cells). If you suspect bean poisoning, you should immediately call a doctor or send the patient to the nearest hospital or medical center.
In general, when cooking vegetable beans, you need to follow some rules in order to preserve their beneficial properties for the body as much as possible. For the culinary use of beans, see How to Cook Vegetable Beans Properly.