The Red Kidney Bean is recognised by its bright red or brown colour. Though they also come in Black and white varieties. They are from the Legume family of plants, Fabaceae. The Botanical name for the red kidney bean is Phaseolus vulgaris, which is also the name for pinto, navy and black beans. Collectively this family of beans is called ‘common beans’. The bean has a resemblance to a Kidney in shape and colour hence its common name. It is thought that the parent of the common bean originated in Peru.

The Red Kidney Bean spread throughout South and Central America as a result of Indian traders who brought kidney beans with them from Peru. Red Kidney Beans are thought to have been introduced into Europe in the 15th century by Spanish explorers.

Kidney Beans themselves appear to have begun life in the West Indies and are a common food in Indian dishes and curries. One of the most recognised kidney bean dishes in America is Hot Chilli.

They are recognised as perhaps the most commonly used legume.

Red Kidney Beans have many health benefits. They are packed with fibre. They are low in fat and have a low glycaemic index. They are also gluten free.

Kidney beans are rich in protein. They are also a high source of thiamine, phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, potassium and vitamin K.

Commercially Kidney Beans are found in Tins or dried in packets at Supermarkets or Health food stores. Beans in Tins have softer skins and more suitable for salads or quick cooking dishes. Packet beans are more suited to longer cooking times such as in homemade soups and broths. Pre-soaking dried Beans is usually recommended.

Kidney Beans have many uses in cooking. They make an excellent flavouring and thickening agent in soups and sauces.

Vegans and Vegetarians use Kidney Beans as a Protein source in their diets.

Kidney beans are often mixed with other common beans in salads, stir fries, curries and soups.

‘Chilli con carne’ is one of the most recognised Bean dishes in America. In Australia beans have increased in popularity over the past few years.

This article would not be complete without mentioning the ‘F’ word usually associated with Beans. Flatulence is caused by the fermentation of certain foods in the digestive system. With beans, flatulence is believed to be caused by carbohydrates that are often slow to digest or in some cases do not digest at all. Flatulence is a natural part of the digestive process.

Author's Bio: 

Eric J. Smith is an Experienced Horticulturalist with a keen interest in Organic Gardening. Eric's interest in Organics also shows in his interest in Organic Nutrition and Organic Skincare. More information can be found on these by visiting his websites... for Organic Health related products and information on living an Organic Lifestyle. for general health information and articles on living a Healthy Lifestyle.

Subscribe to Eric's FREE Health and Organic Newsletters via the above websites.