We are excited to launch Llano Seco Heirloom Beans, locally grown in Chico, California. Heirloom beans have a rich flavor and rich history. Although they require some advance preparation (as any dried beans do), you will taste the difference.
Llano Seco’s Baby Limas are slightly sweeter than the larger Fordhook varietal of Limas and high in trace minerals, fiber and protein. They are flat, kidney-shaped beans that are green or white in color. With a grainy yet buttery texture, they are commonly called Butter Beans in American Southeast cuisine. Although they are common as a Native North American staple (and considered part of the “three sisters” of beans, corn and squash), they are native to Peru and have been cultivated for over 7,000 years.
These small, shiny, black beans are commonly found in Latin, Indian, Creole and Cajun cuisines. They are relatively quick cooking, with a dense, meaty texture and deep, earthy flavor. The thicker tannic skin is full of nutrients, and supports healthy digestive tract activities more so than other beans. Llano Seco’s dear friend Niloufer Ichaporia King shared this incredible recipe for Berta’s Cuban Black Beans which results in Black Turtles cooked to perfection.
Keep reading to learn more about the other varieties!
The original cultivar of the Calypso Shelling Bean is at least 400 years old and native to the Caribbean region of the New World. It is a speckled Dalmatian black and white bean that changes to tan and ecru when cooked. They have an enjoyable velvety smooth, creamy plump texture and nutty, light and distinctly russet potato flavor.
BLACK-EYED PEAS (pictured above)
Black-eyed peas are the most common American version of the cowpea, a leguminous native of West Africa that gives back copious amounts of nitrogen to the soil. It was introduced into the Southern United States in 17th century Virginia, but is grown widely around the world and part of many cultural culinary histories. It is the basis for many Southern dishes including Hoppin’ John (try Niloufer’s recipe for New Year Black-Eyed Peas & Greens). It’s considered good luck food for American traditional New Year celebrations as a representation of prosperity.
These smaller white beans have a black “eye” at the pod joint, with a faster cooking time that does not necessarily require soaking. Black-eyed peas have a great nutty flavor and are high in calcium, folate, vitamin A, magnesium, iron, fiber and protein.
The versatile Cannellini is popular in Italian (specifically Tuscan), French and Spanish cuisine because of its thin skin that holds its shape. During cooking it nearly triples in size but retains a soft, pillowy interior texture and has a mild and creamy flavor with a hint of earth and butter. These beans are a great source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, iron and magnesium. They are the most abundant plant-based source of Phosphatidylserine, which promotes cognitive function and performance as well as improved endocrine response to stress.
The Pinquito is a small, creamy and super sweet miniature version of the pink bean. Embedded in California history, the Pinquito bean was brought to the Santa Maria region of the Central Coast by either Missionaries or citrus grove workers. It is the preferred choice for BBQ and chili due to its dense pot liquor and its ability to stay firm. Try Pinquitos in this recipe for Llano Seco’s BBQ Beans.
YELLOW CANARY (CANARIO)
Also called Peruano, Peruvian or Mayocoba beans, the Yellow Canary is common in Latin American cooking and well-complemented by spices. They are small oval beans that require a full soak to soften up, but they cook up with a thin skin and creamy, rich, buttery texture. They are perfect in Llano Seco’s BBQ Beans, too.