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Sunday, 13 May 2012



In ancient Egypt broad beans, which originated in Persia, North Africa and Europe were mostly eaten by the common people. The upper classes considered them to be unclean and unworthy.

The French bean, kidney bean, or haricot is probably of South American origin.

The Asian mung bean yields the bean sprouts used in Chinese cookery.

Pythagoras forbade the eating of broad (fava) beans as he thought they contained the souls of the dead. He even refused to walk through fields of broad beans. He is said to have allowed himself to be slaughtered rather than cross a field of beans.

It is probable that Pythagoras was prone to favism, which is almost entirely confined to genetically susceptible people of Mediterranean origin. Favism occurs when such individuals consume broad beans or inhale the pollen and it leads to the destruction of red blood cells resulting in severe anaemia. 

In ancient Greece minor officials were elected by putting one white and many black beans in a pot. Whoever picked the white bean got the job.

The phrase "Don't spill the beans" probably dates back to the ancient Greek method of placing black or white beans in a jar to cast votes.


Canned baked beans are usually a variety of (P. vulgaris), which grows well in the USA.

A bean has more DNA per cell than a human cell.

The Mexican Jumping Bean is not a bean. It is actually a thin-shelled section of a seed capsule  that have been inhabited by the larva of a small moth. The "bean" "jumps" when heated because the larva spasms in an attempt to roll the seed to a cooler environment to avoid dehydration and consequent death.

Mexican jumping beans jump in order to get out of the sun's heat.

A $1100 (£700) prize was offered in Indonesia in 1985 for a song extolling the joys of planting soya beans.

The French Idiom: "Il me court sur le haricot" literally "He’s running on my bean", means "He’s getting on my nerves."

Astronauts are not allowed to eat beans before they go into space because passing wind in a spacesuit damages them.

Black-eyed peas are not peas. They are beans.

Sources Hutchinson Encyclopedia © RM 2012.,, Food For Thought by Ed Pearce, Daily Express


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