Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) – Meat bean and Lingot bean

Common bean, member of the family Fabaceae, is a self-pollinated, diploid (2n = 2x = 22) legume crop independently domesticated in Mexico and South America nearly 8,000 years ago. Common synonyms are French bean, haricot bean, salad bean, snap bean and string bean. Today it is cultivated throughout the world for its green pods as well as for dry seeds and it is the most important legume produced for direct human consumption, with a commercial value exceeding that of all other legume crops combined. Like other legumes, common bean also associates with Rhizobium bacteria in the soil that makes beans important in conservation of soil quality due to their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen in soil (Jan et al., 2021).

Common beans are low in lipids and sodium and are a significant source of protein, dietary fibres, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals and are also rich in unsaturated fatty acids, such as linoleic and oleic acids. Dry beans are typically processed before consumption, usually by cooking in water, but some beans are consumed after roasting or after milling into flour. Immature seed pods, called snap beans, are consumed as vegetables in some regions, and straw from the plants is used as forage (Los et al., 2018).

Due to extensive plant-breeding efforts, common bean comprises numerous cultivars with a wide range of morphological and agronomic characteristics, including differences in seed size and colour as well as growth habits. Nevertheless, landraces and local varieties of common beans are an important component of plant biodiversity and source of quality and flavour traits (Celmeli et al., 2018). Different varieties vary with respect to their physical and chemical aspects making them key ingredients in many traditional or local dishes.

DIVINFOOD NUC Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) varieties:

  • Meat bean, Bean of Bresse or “Chartreuse and Oisan bean” is an old small white bean variety traditionally cultivated in the Chartreuse mountainous region, near Lyon (France) and also called “small rice”. It is a climbing type bean and produces in late summer a delicious grain that renowned as local dishes.
  • Lingot bean is a small white oval bean with curved appearance. It has a tender and thin outer skin with a soft, creamy texture and a rich, buttery flavour. It requires no presoaking and cooks tender in an hour with a guaranteed softness. 69 municipalities cultivate it in a growing area of 200 hectares with more than 200 tons produced per year. Lingot beans are used as a garnish in traditional French dishes and are one of the traditional white beans used in French or Castelnaudary Cassoulet (Office de Tourisme de Castelnaudary, 2024)
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