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Food glossary

Beans

Beans

Black

These are small North American beans that have a distinctive sweet flavour and soft texture when cooked. Dried black beans are available from Waitrose, they must be soaked before cooking.

Uses:
They can be added to a variety of soups, stews and casseroles or included in salads and pasta dishes. Black beans are a popular ingredient in a wide variety of traditional soups and stews from Spain and central and southern America.

To store:
Keep in a cool dark place for up to 1 year.

To cook:
Soak the beans overnight in cold water. Drain and then rinse the beans well in running water. Place the beans in a large pan and cover with fresh cold water, bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until tender. Use as required.

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Black eyed

These are small, cream beans with a black spot. They have a nutty, earthy flavour. They are available canned or dried. Dried beans must be soaked and cooked before use.

Uses:
In stews and casseroles.

To store:
Keep in a cool, dry place. Once opened, canned beans should be transferred to a non-metallic container, covered and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.

To prepare:
Soak the dried beans in cold water for at least 8 hours or overnight, then rinse and drain. Place in a large saucepan and cover with water and boil for 40-45 minutes. Drain and serve or add to recipes.

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Borlotti

Oval shaped, pale brown plump beans that have a sweet flavour with a creamy, smooth texture. Buy borlotti beans dried or canned, cannellini beans can be used instead of borlotti beans. Dried beans must be soaked and cooked before use.

Uses:
In salads, bakes and casseroles.

To store:
Store in a cool, dry place. Once opened, canned beans should be transferred to a non-metallic container, covered and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.

To prepare:
Soak dried beans in cold water for at least 8 hours or overnight, then drain and rinse. Place in a large saucepan and cover with water and boil for 1-1½ hours or until tender. Drain and serve or add to recipes.

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Broad

Just one of the varieties of green bean, broad beans are usually removed from the pod before cooking. They have a distinctive flavour and a smooth, creamy texture. Available from June to August.

Uses:
As an accompanying vegetable served with fresh herbs such as parsley, chives, dill or thyme.

To store:
Keep in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.

To prepare:
To remove the beans from the pod, snap off one end of the pod and split it open to reveal the beans.

To cook:
Cook in boiling water for 5-15 minutes until just tender, really fresh smaller beans will cook quickly.

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Butter

These large white beans have a rich, creamy texture. They are available canned or dried - dried beans must be soaked and cooked before use. Cannellini or borlotti beans can be substituted for butter beans in many recipes.

Uses:
In salads, with chicken or pasta dishes and in soups and casseroles.

To store:
Keep in a cool, dry place. Once opened, canned beans should be transferred to a non-metallic container, covered and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.

To prepare:
Soak the dried beans in water for 5 hours and drain. Place the beans in a saucepan and cover with water, boil briskly for 10 minutes. If the beans are to be used in a recipe, then follow the recipe. If the beans are to be cooked, simmer for 1-1½ hours until tender. Five minutes before the end of cooking time, add salt to taste. Drain and serve.

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Cannellini

These beans are small, oval, cream in colour and one of the haricot bean family. Available canned or dried, if purchased dried, they must be soaked and cooked prior to use. Butter beans can be used instead of cannellini beans.

Uses:
Slow-cooked casseroles, especially pork recipes, salads.

To store:
Store in a cool, dry place. Once opened, canned beans should be transferred to a non-metallic container, covered and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.

To prepare:
Soak the dried beans in water for 5 hours and drain. Place the beans in a saucepan and cover with water, boil briskly for 10 minutes. If the beans are to be used in a recipe, then follow the recipe. If the beans are to be cooked, simmer for 1-1½ hours until tender. Five minutes before the end of cooking time, add salt to taste. Drain and serve.

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Flageolet

These beans are small and pale green and are in fact haricot beans harvested while young and tender.

Uses:
As a salad vegetable or serve hot with meat, especially lamb or a firm-fleshed fish such as monkfish.

To store:
Store in a cool, dry place. Once opened, canned beans should be transferred to a non-metallic container, covered and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.

To prepare:
Soak the dried beans in water for 5 hours and drain. Place the beans in a saucepan and cover with water, boil briskly for 10 minutes. If the beans are to be used in a recipe, then follow the recipe. If the beans are to be cooked, simmer for 1-1¼ hours until tender. Five minutes before the end of cooking time, add salt to taste. Drain and serve.

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French

Also called haricots verts, these are best purchased when young and small enough to eat whole. Available all year.

Uses:
Vegetable accompaniment, salads.

To store:
Keep in the fridge and use within 5 days of purchase.

To prepare:
Wash the beans, top and tail and boil in salted water for 5-10 minutes until tender but still crisp. If they are to be used in salads, drain the beans after cooking and plunge into cold water, this is known as refreshing and will help to keep them crisp and green.

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Green

This is a general term for several different types of beans.

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Haricot

These beans are probably best known covered in tomato sauce and called 'Baked Beans'. They are small, oval, creamy coloured beans, which if purchased dried, must be soaked and cooked prior to use. Haricot beans are also known as navy beans because of their extensive use at sea during the 19th century.

Uses:
Slow-cooked casseroles, especially pork recipes, salads. They are the principle ingredient of such dishes as cassoulet and haricot lamb.

To store:
Store in a cool, dry place. Once opened, canned beans should be transferred to a non-metallic container, covered and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.

To prepare:
Soak the dried beans in water for at least 5 hours and drain. Place the beans in a saucepan and cover with water, boil briskly for 10 minutes. If the beans are to be cooked in a recipe, then follow the recipe. If the beans are to be served as a vegetable simmer for 1-1½ hours until tender. Five minutes before the end of cooking time, add salt to taste. Drain and serve.

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Mixed bean salad

Ready-cooked mixed beans are sold in cans in Waitrose. Choose from Waitrose Mixed Bean Salad (pinto beans, black eye beans, baby green lima beans, haricot beans, borlotti beans, great northern beans, flageolet beans, cannelloni beans and chick peas in water) or Organic Mixed Beans (kidney beans, pinto beans and white beans in water).

Uses:
Serve mixed beans hot as a vegetable, add to casseroles or serve with jacket potatoes. Serve with a salad dressing as a bean salad or add to a spicy tomato sauce and use to fill tacos or enchiladas.

To store:
Keep in a cool, dry place. Once opened, canned beans should be transferred to a non-metallic container, covered and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.

To heat:
Empty the contents of the can into a small pan and heat gently, stirring occasionally. Do not reheat once cooled.

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Red kidney

These North American beans have a slightly sweetish flavour and a floury texture. If purchased dried, they must be soaked and cooked prior to use. Butter or cannellini beans can be used in recipes instead of red kidney beans - they have a similar texture.

Uses:
They are associated mainly with Mexican cookery, especially chilli con carne. They can also be used in casseroles or as a vegetable. Due to their dark red colour they are often used in salads.

To store:
Store in a cool, dry place. Once opened, canned beans should be transferred to a non-metallic container, covered and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.

To prepare:
Soak the dried beans in water for at least 5 hours and drain. Place the beans in a saucepan and cover with water, boil briskly for 10 minutes. If the beans are to be cooked in a recipe, then follow the recipe. If the beans are to be used as a vegetable they need to be soaked overnight in cold water. Drain and place in a pan with fresh water and boil briskly for at least 10 minutes. Then simmer gently for 1-1½ hours until tender. Five minutes before the end of cooking time, add salt to taste. Drain and serve.

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Runner

A medium-length, thin green bean that is best eaten when very fresh. If you have had runner beans in the fridge for a couple of days, to check for freshness, snap a bean in half it should break with a clean snap and the inside should be fresh and juicy. Available from June to September.

Uses:
As an accompanying vegetable sprinkled with fresh dill, sage or basil or in salads.

To store:
Keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.

To prepare:
Wash the beans and then top and tail them. Remove any stringy bits using a small, sharp knife and slice vertically or diagonally into even lengths.

To cook:
Cook in boiling salted water for 5-10 minutes or steam for 10-15 minutes until just tender. Drain well before serving.

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Yellow

An interesting yellow-coloured variety of the popular green bean.

Uses:
Yellow wax beans can be used in exactly the same way as green beans. Add to salads with green beans to create an interesting colour contrast or serve as an accompanying vegetable sprinkled with fresh parsley.

To store:
Keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. If you have yellow wax beans in the fridge for a couple of days, to check for freshness, snap a bean in half - it should break with a clean snap and the inside should be fresh and juicy.

To prepare:
Wash the beans and then top and tail them. Leave whole or cut in half if you prefer.

To cook:
Yellow wax beans cook quicker than green beans - cook in boiling water for 4-5 minutes or steam for 6-8 minutes until just cooked.

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10 bean mix

A combination of 10 different dried beans, including black-eyed beans, red kidney beans, butter beans and mung beans. They can be used to add texture, flavour and colour to a variety of savoury dishes.

Uses:
In curries, chillies, gumbos, casseroles, stews, soups and salads.

To prepare:
Soak the beans in plenty of cold water overnight.

To cook:
Drain the soaked beans and rinse thoroughly in cold water. Place in a pan, cover with fresh water and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly for 10 minutes, cover and simmer for 45-50 minutes or until the beans are tender.

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