California pea beans and navy beans are two popular varieties of beans commonly purchased throughout the United States. They are rich in protein and various other nutrients and provide a meaty texture that complements many different American dishes. More than 18.3 million tons of dry common beans are eaten throughout the world annually.
Navy beans are small white beans harvested and dried for use in chili, soups and stews. They grow on bushes that can grow about 2 feet tall. They are easy to grow in the majority of the United States, excluding areas with extremely long winters.
California Pea Beans
California pea beans are small, dense beans with flavors quite similar to mushrooms. Their colors range from medium brown tints to dark black and grow in dense bushes. They are popular throughout the southern United States and Mexico. Various regions use the cheap beans as a staple in common dishes such as soups and burritos.
Both varieties of beans need high nitrogen-rich soil that can provide nutrition for high fruit production. Gardeners should plants beans about 1 inch below the surface in 18-inch rows 18 inches apart in all directions to help avoid competition between plants. Protect seedlings in plastic from frost danger until the season has passed. Bean plants should be watered regularly whenever the well-draining soil has completely dried.
The biggest difference between the two varieties of beans is texture. Navy beans are less gritty in taste and texture than their California counterparts. They cook to be smoother and have a more earthy taste. As time passes, navy beans will loose their nutritional value more quickly than California pea beans, taking longer to cook through fully.
Never store beans in the refrigerator or freezer. The condensation and frost can spoil the beans quickly. Instead keep beans in a dry location where they can be kept safe from water and cold damage. Most beans contain phytohaemagglutinin, which is toxic to humans when ingested in large amounts. The most common symptoms of phytohaemagglutinin poisoning are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
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