The word "bean" refers to both the bean plant and its pods and seeds. Beans are among the oldest known cultivated plants. They have already been used as an important crop in peru as early as 6000 BC. The first beans reached Europe in the 16th century.
Beans belong to the papilionaceous plants and contain the protein phasine which is toxic for humans in its pure state. The toxins are destroyed by cooking, though, so you can still enjoy cooked beans without having to fear for your life. Two main forms can be differentiated: the smaller bush beans that stay closer to the ground and the climbing pole beans or stalk beans.
Bean varietiesBeans belong to the leguminous vegetables and are a very important staple food worldwide. High in fiber and protein, the bean is an indispensable part of the different cooking styles all over the world. In Europe, the classic French bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) is probably most famous. Either the immature bean pods are eaten as green beans and wax beans or the dried ripe seeds, which are available in different colors, shapes and sizes.
A bean cultivar that deserves more recognition, however, is the broad bean (Vicia faba) - after all, it was at home in Europe long before the French bean. It is also known as fava bean or horse bean and was traditionally served as beans with bacon. Across the world, of course, many other leguminous plant varieties such as soybeans, the adzuki bean, the scarlet runner bean, and many others play an important role - no matter in which form, beans are among the most important foods of the world