Do You Eat The “Musical Fruit”?

You probably know the saying and ending, but here’s a new one without a rhyming ending.  Beans, beans the musical fruit the more you eat, the more you can improve your health.

Dry beans are a popular crop to grow in North Dakota. You may be noticing fields of dry edible beans as you drive in some areas of the state. In fact, North Dakota farmers lead the nation in growing all dry beans. Most of North Dakota’s dry bean acres are in navy and pinto beans.

Dry beans are related to green beans, which are grown in home gardens. Dry beans are the dried seeds found inside the pod.

Eating beans can provide many health benefits due to their rich nutrient profile.

Beans can be categorized in the vegetable group or the protein group in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food groups. These nutrient powerhouses are high in fiber, protein, antioxidants, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B.

Eating a serving of beans can help you feel full longer and can slow the rise of blood sugar levels.

Regularly eating beans may decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease and colorectal cancer, and help with weight management. Remember to drink more water when increasing fiber in your diet.

Bean varieties commonly grown in this area include black, pink, cranberry, dark red kidney, navy, pinto, light red kidney, small red and great northern.

Beans can be purchased dried, then soaked in water and cooked, or purchased as canned goods, and they often are used in soups, stews, salads, casseroles, dips, desserts, side dishes and bean flour.

Dry beans are one of the specialty crops that can be grown in North Dakota. Visit the North Dakota State University Extension Service’s Field to Fork website at www.ag.ndsu.edu/fieldtofork for more information about growing and using a variety of specialty crops, including dry beans.

Here’s a sweet bean recipe to try.

Peanut Butter Black Bean Brownies
1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
3 eggs
3 Tbsp. canola oil
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. peanut butter
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch salt
1/2 c. peanut butter chips
1/4 c. dark chocolate chunks
Crushed peanuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly coat an 8- by 8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Put black beans in a strainer and rinse thoroughly, then place in food processor with oil and process until smooth/creamy. Add eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, peanut butter, baking powder and salt; process until smooth. Add half the amount of peanut butter chips and pulse the food processor to mix in the chips. Repeat with the remaining chips, along with the chocolate chunks. Put the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Top with chopped peanuts if desired. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan. You can test the center by inserting a toothpick. If the brownies are done, the toothpick will come out clean. Let brownies cool for 10 minutes, then cut into 2-inch squares.

Makes 16 servings. Each serving has 130 calories, 6 grams (g) fat, 4 g protein, 17 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber and 115 milligrams sodium.

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Julie Garden-Robinson is a food and nutrition specialist with the NDSU Extension Service. Follow her on Twitter @jgardenrobinson.