Green, red, kidney, lima, or soy are just a few of the different kinds of beans recognized on National Bean Day on January 6.
This day celebrates the bean in all sizes, shapes and colors. Beans (legumes) are one of the longest cultivated plants dating back to the early seventh millennium BC.
Today, just as throughout the Old and New World history, beans are an important source of protein. A very healthy choice for any meal or snack, they are also an excellent source of fiber, are low in fat and are high in complex carbohydrates, folate and iron.
Significant amounts of fiber and soluble fiber are found in beans as one cup of cooked beans provide between 9 and 13 grams of fiber. Soluble fiber can help in lowering blood cholesterol.
- There are approximately 40,000 bean varieties in the world.
- Only a fraction of these varieties are mass-produced for regular consumption.
- January 6th is National Bean Day which also falls on the day in which geneticist, Gregor Mendel, who famously used bean and pea plants to test his theories on inheritance died in 1884.
- Beans have been cultivated by humans for 6,000 years.
- In Nicaragua, newlyweds are given a bowl of beans for good luck.
- In ancient Greece, minor public officials were elected by putting one white bean with a load of black beans inside a “bean machine.” Whoever picked the white bean got the job.
- In the 1980’s an archaeologist working in New Mexico came upon a clay pot sealed with pine tar containing bean seeds that were 1,500 years old…and they grew!
- Beans can be made into burgers, cakes, drinks, pies, fudge, muffins, jewelry, furniture (bean-bag chairs!), toys, and musical instruments.
- The world’s largest bean pods can grow up to 5 feet long.
- In the 6th century BC, philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras had a deep philosophical dislike of beans. Some historians reported his aversion was due to the belief that legumes contained the souls of the dead.
- Approximately 71,089 people in the world have the last name Bean.
- Vermont ranks highest in searching for bean recipes online. Montana and Wyoming are second and third.
- In ancient Greece, minor public officials were elected by drawing beans. The person who got the white bean got the job.
- The Alabama Butterbean Festival set the record for the largest pot of baked beans at 1,010 gallons.
- The longest recorded time for sitting in a bath of cold baked beans is 100 hours by Barry “Captain Beany” Kirk of Port Talbot, West Glamorgan (United Kingdom).
- Every hour, 38.5 tons of baked beans are eaten in Britain.
- The top five beans grown in the United states are pinto beans, navy beans, black beans, red kidney beans and great northern beans.
- The World’s Tallest Bean Plant was over 45 feet tall. The world’s tallest was homegrown in the USA! In 2003, grower Staton Rorie tended the bean plant to colossal heights, recorded by Guinness Book of World Records as reaching 46 ft. 3 in! For a little comparison, that is the same height as: three fully-grown giraffes stacked on top of one another, over half as tall as the White House (70 feet), 1/8th of a California Redwood tree and the same height as 115 stacked cans of coke.
- Bean Soup is on the U.S Senate restaurant menu… every single day.
- North Dakota produces 1/3 of beans in the U.S. North Dakota is known for a lot of things, but we doubt you would have guessed that it is the capital of bean production in the United States. And honestly, it’s not even close! North Dakota accounts for 32% of the nation’s bean production, followed at a distant 2nd by Michigan at 17%. Nebraska rounds out the top three at 11%.