Pinto beans are oval, speckle surfaced dry beans in the Fabaceae family of legumes. Pintos are very popular among the dry beans consumed in the southern parts of US, where large Mexican population present.
Binomially, pinto beans belong to the common bean (Fabaceae) family, in the genus: Vicia. Scientific name: Phaseolus vulgaris.
Synonyms: Feijao carioca (Potuguese) and frijoles pintos (Spanish).
Pinto bean is an annual dicotyledonous woody shrub. It requires well-drained, fertile-rich, sandy soil to flourish. White flowers appear after about 60 days after seedling which develop into long, cylindrical pods consisting of 4-8 medium-sized, oval, slightly flattened, salmon-pink colored seeds with scattered, russet speckles on the surface.
Their mottled appearance lost during cooking, and boiled beans acquire subtle flavor and a creamy texture.
Pinto beans are one of the finest alternative vegetarian protein sources. 100 grams of pinto beans carry 347 calories, and 21.47 g or 38% of recommended daily values of protein.
The beans are moderate sources of antioxidant isoflavones. Total isoflavones is 0.18 mg per 100 grams of beans; daidzein and genistein at levels 0.01 mg and 0.17 mg respectively. Isoflavones have been found to reduce post-menopausal cancers and osteoporosis.
Pinto beans are minor sources of O-methylated isoflavone compound, Biochanin-A (0.28 mg per 100 g). Biochanin-A is a plant-estrogen. Studies suggest that it plays a definitive role in anti-cancer diet programs.
Like other legumes, frijoles pintos also contain adequate amounts of dietary fiber. 100 g of beans carry 15.5 g or 41% of fiber. Dietary fiber works as a bulk laxative that protects the colon mucosa by decreasing its exposure time to toxic substances as well as by binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon.
Dietary fiber has shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels by decreasing reabsorption of cholesterol binding bile acids in the colon.
Frijoles pintos are gluten-free protein sources and for the same reason, they preferred gluten-free food alternatives in gluten-allergy and celiac disease patients.
Pinto beans are one of the finest sources of many B-complex vitamins like folates, thiamin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and niacin. Most of these vitamins works as co-factors for the enzymes in carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism.
Pinto beans hold amazingly high amounts of folates; 525 μg or 94% of daily values. Folate, along with vitamin B-12, is one of the essential co-factor for DNA synthesis and cell division. Adequate folate in the diet around conception and during the pregnancy may help prevent neural-tube defects in the babies.
Pinto beans contain very good amounts of minerals. 100 g of dry beans hold copper-99%, iron-63%, manganese-50%, phosphorus-58%, selenium-51%, calcium-13%, and zinc-21%.
100 g of pintos hold 1393 mg or 30% potassium. Potassium electrolyte is present in the cells and body fluids, which help counter pressing effects of sodium on heart and blood pressure.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percent of RDA|
|Total Fat||1.23 g||6%|
|Dietary Fiber||15.5 g||41%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.785 mg||16%|
Dry pinto beans are very popular in the North and South Americas. One can buy dry beans in air-seal packets for extended use or canned beans for immediate to short term use from the super-markets.
Dry beans can keep well for several months. Store in cool dry places, away from direct sunlight, humidity, and excessive moisture.
Fresh, immature beans can also be stored and used in a way similar to green beans.
Pinto beans are one of the most desired dry beans in the US, Mexico, and Brazil.
Cooking often requires soaking in cold water for 5-8 hours. Pinto takes more time to cook than most other varieties of dry beans. They can also be simmered for 1 hour, or pressure cooked after soaking for 35 minutes. Soaking and boiling also help eliminate anti-nutritional compounds and reduce flatulence.
Here are some serving tips:
Pinto beans most often feature in the Southern states cuisine, especially the Tex-Mex dishes.
Refried bean paste is a classic Mexican refried pinto bean dip, served in burritos and tortilla.
The beans also used in baked bean recipes, in a way similar to navy beans.
Boiled pinto beans are also used in bean salads, delicious soups, and stews mixed with other complementing herbs, spices and vegetables.
In Brazil, the pinto (Feijao carioca) beans commonly cooked with meat sausages and vegetables, eaten with rice.
Classic Spanish and French cassoulet (casserole) recipe employs pinto beans with bacon and chicken.
Frijoles Charros is traditional Mexican pinto Beans with bacon and chili peppers recipe.
In India, the beans can be substituted for red kidney and cranberry beans in the rajma-chawal (bean-rice) recipe.
Pinto beans should be consumed only after thorough cooking. Like other dry kidney beans, consumption of un-boiled/undercooked pinto beans too can cause phyto-hemagglutinin (lectin) toxin poisoning, a condition which may cause clumping of red blood cells in humans. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Cooking in pressure cooker neutralizes these compounds, and make them safe for consumption. (Medical disclaimer).
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