Black-Eyed Peas / Garden
Peas / Lima Beans / Mung Beans / Snap Beans
Why do beans give you gas?
- Beans are among the oldest of cultivated crops. The remains of some
found in the Middle East may be 7,500 years old.
- Everywhere in the world people depend on legumes for food - and have
for thousands of years.
- Peas, beans and lentils are known as pulses and also as
legumes. They are the seeds of plants belonging to the family Leguminosae,
which gets its name from the characteristic pod, or legume, that protects
the seeds while they are forming and ripening.
- With approximately 13,000 species, the family Leguminosae
is the second largest in the plant kingdom.
- Legumes provide us with food, medicines, oils, chemicals, timber,
dyes and ornamental garden plants.
- All legumes grow in pods which split into two valves, with the seeds
attached to the lower edge of one of the valves.
- The Greeks and Romans used the broad bean for balloting. Black beans
signified opposition, and white beans signified agreement. This custom
carried over into England in the election of the king and queen for
Twelfth Night and other celebrations and was taken to the New World
colony at Massachusetts Bay, where Indian beans were used.
- In Oklahoma we grow several varieties of legumes - some in our gardens,
some in our fields, some to feed our animals and some to feed ourselves.
- Farmed legumes fall into two classes: forage and grain. Forage legumes,
like alfalfa, clover and vetch, are sown in pasture and grazed by livestock.
Grain legumes are cultivated for their seeds and are also called "pulses."
The seeds are used for humans and animals to eat, for producing oils
or for other industrial purposes.
- Beans are high in fiber and contain a higher percentage of protein
than most other plant foods, but they need whole grains to make them
complete. Whole grains contribute different amino acids than beans,
but in combination they make complete proteins. Ancient people must
have known this, since they always grew whole grains like wheat alont
with their legumes.
- The US Food and Drug Administration recommends that we include plenty
of whole grains and legumes in our diets.
- Blackeyed peas are Oklahoma's number one vegetable crop.
- Cowpea is another name for black-eyed-peas. Other names are China
bean and black eyed bean. They are native to Asia and Africa, but
have been cultivated since ancient times in China. They are grown
in Oklahoma and throughout the southern U.S. as a hay crop and
for human consumption.
- Black-eyed beans have a scented aroma, creamy texture and distinctive
flavor. These beans are characterized by their kidney shaped, white
skin with a small black eye and very fine wrinkles. Originally
from Africa, it is one of the most widely dispersed beans in the
world. Black-eyed peas are really a type of pea, which gives it
its distinctive flavor and rapid cooking potential, with no pre-soaking
- In Senegal, where the blackeyed pea is know as the "niebe," it is
known as "the meat of the poor" because of its high protein content.
The bean is eatene in fritters, in stews and sometimes mixed into bread.
- The mature bean contains 23-25 percent protein, 50-67 percent starch,
and B vitamins, including folic acid. It is also rich in essential
micro-elements, such as iron, calcium and zinc.
- Stockbreeders keep the stalks, which are also rich in proteins and
make good forage for cattle.
- Cowpeas provide strong yields, even in hot and dry conditions. The
plants' roots infuse nitrogen into the soil.
- Peas are usually the first vegetable to be planted
in the garden in the early spring. They like cool weather and must
be harvested before it starts getting hot. Peas taste better when
they are grown while the weather is still cool.
- Peas are an excellent source of vitamins A, B
complex and C.
- Peas grow on vines. They grow best when they have
something to climb, like a fence, a trellis or even dried tree branches
stuck in the ground.
- Peas grow in pods. In some varieties, like snow peas and sugar snaps,
the pods taste as good as the peas themselves, In other varieties,
the peas are shelled - removed from the shells.
- Green garden peas are a valuable source of protein, iron and insoluble
fiber. Sugar snap peas and the like, contain less protein, but are
an excellent source of iron and vitamin C.
- Lima beans originated in Peru and have been grown there since
6000 B.C. The name lima bean comes from the capital city of Peru,
Lima. Lima beans are often nicknamed chad beans or butter beans.
In the southern part of the United States, lima beans are almost
always called butter beans, even in markets and restaurants.
- Lima beans come in three main varieties: large, small, and dwarf.
Large lima beans are green or speckled. The speckled kind have
a creamy texture and a strong earthy flavor, unlike the pale green
ones. Small lima beans are also called sieva beans and have several
other nicknames, such as Carolina bean, civet, seewee, and sivvy.
Most small limas are pale green. Small limas are less starchy than
the larger varieties. Dwarf beans, also known as butter peas, are
white and speckled and the least starchy of the limas.
- Fresh lima beans are difficult to find in the United States but
can occasionally be found at farmers markets. It is easier to find
lima beans in the southern United States than anywhere else in
the country. Most lima beans are dried, canned, or frozen.
- Lima beans should never be eaten raw. They contain linamarin
(also called cyanogen), which releases a cyanide compound when
the seed coat is opened. The United States sets regulations to
restrict commercially grown lima beans to those varieties with
very low levels of this linamarin. Cooking deactivates this compound.
The most common methods of preparation are boiling and microwaving.
- Mung beans are a minor commodity in Oklahoma. They are grown mostly
for livestock feed.
- Mung beans are also the beans sprouted and sold as bean sprouts.
- Green beans are available year round, with a peak season of May to
October. Green beans are also called string beans and snap beans. Green
beans were once called string beans because a fibrous string ran along
the seam of the bean. The string was noticeable when you snapped off
the ends. The snapping noise is the reason for its other nickname.
Today they are stringless. Green beans are also available canned and
- Snap beans originated in southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and
Costa Rica. By 1492, they had spread
northward to the southwestern United States and then spread eastward
from Florida to Virginia. U.S. farmers began breeding the bean around
1890 because of interest in bean varieties with stringless pods.
Why Do Beans Give You Gas?
"Beans, eaten, are a extremely windy meat." -Culpepper, 1653
- Beans have complex sugard in them that can't be digested by human
enzymes. These sugars sail untouched through the upper intestine, only
to be met in the lower intestine by hungry bacteria. The bacteria eat
the sugar, and they give off gas.
- As with many vegetables, the more beans you eat, the more your body
will become adapted to them. Dietitians recommend introducing these
foods to your diet a little at a time to give your body a chance to
get used to them. You can also reduce gas by soaking an drinsing dry
beans before cooking them. Fresh beans produce less gas.
Lessons about legumes: A Bean is a
Seed, Fields of Beans
Back to Ag Facts
Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom
Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom is a program of the Oklahoma Cooperative
Extension Service, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and
Forestry and the Oklahoma State Department of Education.