These little reddish-brown beans may not look like much, but adzuki beans can be a useful tool in anyone’s food arsenal. Known for their distinctively sweet and nutty taste, these beans also pack a surprisingly powerful nutritional punch. Low in calories and high in nutritional value, adzuki beans are often thought of as a dieter’s bean, but they are a must-try for everyone! Although commonly eaten as a sweetened paste, as in Asian cuisine, these beans can also be boiled and added to soups and salads, or eaten as a side dish.
Adzuki beans are small, oval-shaped red-brown beans that typically have a slight white crease along one side.
These versatile legumes have a sweet, distinct, nutty flavor and a creamy texture.
Adzuki beans are typically found in the United States and Europe dried, canned, and fresh, or in a paste form. Less common in the United States, these beans can be purchased from most major international grocery stores, from specialty stores, or online.
When purchasing fresh, look for beans with a glossy and deep red-brown color. Avoid any off-color or broken beans. Watch out for additives, especially salt, when purchasing the beans canned, and select a bag that is sealed and free of moisture when purchasing the dry beans.
Adzuki beans are available in organic varieties, and should be purchased organic whenever possible. Organic foods are those that are produced without the use of artificial chemicals or fertilizers, genetic modification, radiation, or sewage sludge. Buying organic foods, in particular, minimizes exposure to harmful pesticides. Pesticides are toxic in nature and have been linked to a myriad of health problems. Among these problems are cancer, hormone disruption, brain toxicity, and eye, skin, and lung irritation. Pesticides are also thought to harm the environment including the soil, water, and wildlife.
Yoffie Life stresses that consuming conventional beans when the organic version is unavailable or financially impossible is far better than not eating them at all.
Packaged, dried adzuki beans can be kept in an airtight container in a dry, dark location. Their shelf life is about one year, so make sure you don’t purchase more than you will use.
After adzuki beans are cooked, they can be kept in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for five days, or kept in the freezer for six months.
Prior to cooking, adzuki beans should be soaked in cold water overnight or approximately 6 to 8 hours. Beans should be drained and the water discarded prior to cooking.
Boiling these beans is both the easiest and healthiest method. In a large pot, add 4 cups of water for every 1 cup of beans. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 45 to 60 minutes, or until tender.
Adzuki beans are easier to digest than many other beans, partially because of their small size. Soaking them for several days in water makes them even easier to digest. Certain additives at the end of the cooking process will make beans less likely to cause gastrointestinal distress. Salt, cumin, or fennel, when added near the end of the cooking, can be a digestive aid, helping to prevent gas and bloating. Brown rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, kelp, or kombu can also be added to the water while cooking to aid in digestion. As with all beans, adzuki beans should be chewed thoroughly.
Adzuki beans are unique in their flavor, but if a substitution must be made, small red beans or small kidney beans are suitable alternatives. Pinto or cranberry beans would also suffice.
Composed of amino acids (building blocks of protein), this essential nutrient aids in the healing of wounds and the growth of hair, skin, and nails; provides a substantial amount of energy and satiation; catalyzes metabolic reactions; and promotes a healthy hormonal and immune system response.
A non-digestible carbohydrate, fiber provides a feeling of fullness, aids digestive support, helps provide the movement and excretion of bodily wastes, and aids blood-sugar stability.
Magnesium is responsible for promoting cardiovascular health, muscle contraction and relaxation, energy production, and proper bone formation. This essential nutrient may also be helpful in regulating healthy blood-sugar levels, decreasing the likelihood of type 2 diabetes.
Alongside sodium and chloride, potassium is an electrolyte essential for conducting electrical reactions in the body. Potassium aids proper muscle function, digestive health, and skeletal contractions.
Zinc offers a host of health benefits, aiding the body’s sense of taste, vision, and smell, and also plays a role in blood clotting, thyroid and metabolism health, and insulin sensitivity. This abundant mineral is also helpful for promoting immune system health and skin repair.
The diuretic properties of adzuki beans help cleanse the body of toxins. Due to their many nutritional benefits, adzuki beans may prove to be a useful addition to any heart-healthy diet.
- The earliest known occurrence of the adzuki bean is 4000 BC.
- Adzuki beans, known for their sweet flavor, are used in many desserts in Asia.
- Following the soybean, adzuki beans are the second-most popular bean in Japan.