close up view of raw organic pinto beans

13 Interesting Facts About Pinto Beans

Spread the love

Pinto beans are a variety of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) that is most popular in the United States and Mexico. Here are 13 fascinating facts about these speckled legumes.

1. Their name means “painted”

The word “pinto” means “painted” in Spanish. This refers to the beans’ speckled beige and brown coloring when dried.

2. They are high in nutrients

Pinto beans are packed with protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B6, and folate. Just one cup of cooked pinto beans contains:

  • 15 grams protein
  • 15 grams fiber
  • 45% DV folate
  • 30% DV iron
  • 30% DV magnesium

They are also low in fat and have no cholesterol.

3. Pinto beans promote heart health

The fiber, potassium, magnesium, and folate in pinto beans support heart health in various ways. For example, folate helps lower levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to heart disease.

Cranberry Bean Stew Turkish Barbunya Pilaki
Cranberry Bean Stew Turkish Barbunya Pilaki

4. They can help manage blood sugar

The fiber and protein in pinto beans helps slow the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream. This effect on blood sugar regulation makes them a smart choice for people with diabetes.

5. Pinto beans are budget-friendly

Dry pinto beans are one of the most affordable sources of protein. Stock up when they are on sale for a nutritious and wallet-friendly pantry staple.

6. They are versatile in the kitchen

Pinto beans work well in soups, stews, tacos, burritos, salads, dips, and more. Try using them to make vegetarian burgers or meatless “meat”balls.

7. Refried beans use pinto beans

The creamy goodness in refried beans comes from mashed pinto beans fried in oil or lard. Canned refried beans make a quick and tasty filling for burritos and quesadillas.

8. A little town in Colorado claims to be the “Pinto Bean Capital of the World”

Dove Creek, Colorado proudly calls itself the Pinto Bean Capital of the World. Located in the southwest corner of the state, Dove Creek has hosted an annual Pinto Bean Day Celebration since 1957.

9. Pinto beans have an ancient history

Beans similar to pinto beans were first cultivated in Mexico and Peru over 7,000 years ago. Along with corn and squash, beans were one of the “Three Sisters” grown by Native Americans.

10. They fueled Allied forces in WWI and WWII

During the world wars, tons of pinto beans from New Mexico helped feed Allied troops in Europe. The hardy pinto thrived in the arid climate of New Mexico.

11. Heirloom varieties are still grown in Mexico

Some indigenous communities in Mexico grow heirloom varieties of vividly colored pinto beans. These heirloom beans have exceptionally high levels of healthy antioxidants compared to commercial varieties.

12. Pinto beans expand when cooked

Dry pinto beans triple in size after soaking and cooking. One pound of dry beans yields six cups of cooked beans. Plan for expansion when cooking beans from scratch.

13. Some people add a pinch of baking soda when cooking pinto beans

Adding a small amount of baking soda to the cooking water can help soften the beans. Be careful not to add too much, as it can cause the beans to break down too much.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pinto Beans

Yes, pinto beans are very healthy. They are packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals while being low in fat and sodium. The nutrients in pinto beans provide benefits for heart health, blood sugar regulation, digestion, and more.

Pinto beans contain complex carbohydrates, with around 40 grams of carbs per cooked cup. However, they are also very high in fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream. This gives them a low glycemic index, making pinto beans a smart carb choice.

No, raw pinto beans contain phytohaemagglutinin, a toxin that can cause severe nausea and vomiting. You must cook pinto beans to break down this compound. Before cooking, always sort and rinse pinto beans to remove any debris.

First, pick through the beans and rinse them. Soak them for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain the beans and cover with fresh water. Cook over medium heat until tender, 1-2 hours. Avoid adding salt until the beans begin softening, as it can prevent them from becoming tender.

Spread the love

Similar Posts