Kidney beans are a variety of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), native of Mexico and Central America. They are referred to as "common bean" as they are derived from a common bean ancestor that originated in Peru. They are kidney shaped beans, mostly red in color and 1/2 inch long. They are available in different variants like Red kidney beans(common kidney bean, Rajma), Light speckled kidney bean, Red speckled kidney bean and White kidney bean (known as cannellini in Italy and lobia in India). They have derived their name from their shape and color, similar to a kidney. They have firm, creamy, white flesh inside, when cooked. They cook up to a smooth texture and hold their shape well even after cooking. They readily absorb surrounding flavors and are ideal for use in simmered dishes. They are considered as an integral part of the cuisine in Northern regions of India(cooked as rajma). They are also used extensively in Mexican cooking.
Look for Kidney beans that are whole, dried, plump and evenly colored. Make sure they are clean and uncontaminated by debris with no hint of moisture in them. Avoid any cracked or broken beans. Both dried and canned kidney beans are available in the market. Check for their "use-by" date to confirm their freshness.
Excessive Intake of kidney beans can cause digestion and bowel health issues. It can also cause abdominal pain, blocked intestine, diarrhoea, and gas. Being rich in folate, kidney beans can increase the risk of cancer, if consumed in large quantities. It may also cause damage to the organs. It is high in iron that can damage the brain and can cause heart attacks.(2)
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