Week 21: Beans

10 lbs of White Beans

After this week, you should have 10 lbs stored. The program goal is 15 lbs. We will address White Beans 1 more time (in week 42).

Similar to other beans, the white bean is high in starch, protein and dietary fiber and is an excellent source of iron, potassium, selenium, molybdenum, thiamine, vitamin B6, and folic acid. The small, white navy bean, also called the pea bean or haricot, is particularly popular in Britain and the US, featured in such dishes as baked beans and even pies, as well as in various soups.

Kinds of White Beans:

  • Navy Beans- Also called Pea beans, these are small, oval-shaped, and quick-cooking. Because they get creamy when cooked, they’re perfect for mashing against the side of the pot, pureeing in dips, and thickening soups, stews, ragouts, and more. They have a mild flavor and are the bean of choice for classic Boston baked beans, Navy Bean Chowder, and quintessential South Louisiana-Style White Beans & Rice. Interestingly, the Navy bean gets its name from its use as a food staple by the U.S. Navy in the early 1900s. While all beans are high in fiber, the Navy beans have the most at 19 grams per cup!

  • Great Northern Beans- These are larger than Navy Beans but smaller than Cannellini beans. The medium-sized Great Northern beans are known for their mild, nutty flavor and firm flesh. Great in soups and stews, they hold their shape better than Navy beans, take on the flavors of the foods they’re cooked with, and are commonly used in French cassoulets.

  • Cannellini Beans- These beans are the largest of the group and because of their traditional kidney shape, they are also referred to as White Kidney Beans. Meatier than Navy or Great Northern beans, they have a nutty, earthy flavor and tender flesh, and are often used in Italian dishes like Minestrone. They retain their shape and texture well, so they’re perfect to use in salads, soups, stews, and chili.

  • Baby Lima Beans- Also called “butterbeans,” these beans are small, smooth, and creamy with a rich, buttery texture. They’re starchier than other beans and are often used in soups, stews, succotash, and casseroles, or just cooked simply with herbs and spices. In the south, they’re often cooked with ham or bacon and served over rice.

Substituting One Variety for Another:

The reality is that even though the different varieties of white beans have slightly different flavors and sizes (and everyone has their personal favorites), they’re often used interchangeably in recipes. So, if a recipe calls for Cannellinis, and you only have Great Northerns on hand, your dish will still turn out just fine and taste delicious.


Dry beans will keep indefinitely if stored in a cool, dry place, but as time passes, their nutritive value and flavor degrade and cooking times lengthen.

  • Store in cool, dry area.

  • After opening, store the dried beans in an airtight container or place original package in a resealable plastic bag.

  • Storage time shown is for best quality only; after that, the beans’ texture, color or flavor may change, but in most cases, they will still be safe to consume if they have been stored properly.

  • If beans develop an off odor, flavor or appearance, they should be discarded.

  • The ‘Best By,’ ‘Best if Used By,’ and ‘Use By’ dates on commercially packaged foods sold in the United States represent the manufacturer’s estimate of how long the product will remain at peak quality. In most cases, the beans will still be safe to consume after that date, as long they have been stored properly and the package is not damaged.


Dried beans are almost always cooked by boiling, often after having been soaked for several hours. While the soaking is not strictly necessary, it shortens cooking time and results in more evenly textured beans. In addition, discarding one or more batches of soaking water leaches out hard-to-digest complex sugars that can cause flatulence, though those who eat beans regularly seem to have less difficulties with flatulence as intestinal microbes adjust. There are several methods including overnight soaking, and the power soak method, which is to boil beans for three minutes, then set them aside for 2-4 hours, then drain and discard the water and proceed with cooking. Common beans take longer to cook than most pulses: cooking times vary from one to four hours, but are substantially reduced with pressure cooking.

Page updated: 10/13/20