Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Some Clarity on Legumes, Haricots, and Nuts

I first ran across "legumes" (beans) and "haricots verts" (green beans) in my high school French class, but probably during different lessons. In the last 10 years or so, I've seen a lot of "legumes" in print.

I got curious enough recently to poke around the web for improve my knowledge about beans. The following sites dispense basic information.

"Legumes: Beans, Peas, and Lentils" provides characteristics differences—"Beans, peas, and lentils are all seeds that grow in pods. We can tell the difference by their shape." The site also provides overall preparation guidelines.

"The battle of the beans: Which are best?" lists and describes 11 common variety of beans.
Beans are part of a food category called legumes and grow in pods then are shelled and dried. Other legumes are peas, which are round and generally sold fresh or frozen, and lentils, which are flattish and round, are sold dried, and come in various tones of gray, green and coral. Beans are either round, kidney-shaped, or oval shapes with varying degrees of size and thickness.
"List Of Legumes - Healthy Protein" describes legumes as "plants that bear their fruit in pods, which are casings with two halves, or hinges". The site lists the following plants to be legumes—beans, lentils, peas, peanuts, and features four columns of names.

Big eye-opener for me—peanuts are legumes, not nuts.

"List of Legume Foods" lists the same four plant edibles, but also explains that peanuts are mistaken for nuts, a different class of vegetable. Further details about nuts are at "Are Cashews Nuts or Legumes?"
Highly diverse in size, shape, texture and flavor, nuts are the seeds of nut trees. All nuts grow encased in a shell, and in some instances, the shell is contained inside a fruit or outer husk. … Much like nuts, legumes are the nutrient-dense seeds of leguminous plants. These seeds are encased in pods, some of which are edible.
During my browsing over beans, questions popped up that I wanted to find answers for and share.

* What's the difference between green beans and haricots verts?

"Green Beans vs. Haricots Verts: What's the Difference?" states the following:
haricots verts tend to be skinnier than traditional green beans, and are also more expensive. … they’re also more tender and flavorful than comparably sized traditional green beans. They’re also younger than traditional green beans.
* Are refried beans fried and refried?

Yahoo's "question about refried beans" yielded a couple of feasible explanations:
We came up with 'Refried Beans' from the Mexican word 'frijoles refritos'
The re- in refrito doesn't mean 'again', as in the beans being fried again. In Spanish, the re- in front of the word for fried means the beans are fried strongly or very well.
Refried beans are the same fried beans BUT with a little more cooking oil or lard; also the lenght [sic] of cooking is extended a few more minutes until the oil or lard soak the beans and turn them browner.
Funny thing is that recipes I've run across call for mashing the beans. Seems this food should be called mashed beans (puré de frijoles).  

* Why are black-eyed peas seldom referred to as black-eyed beans rather than peas? Peas, such a green peas, are spherical.

I've not found definitive answers for why these beans are commonly called black-eyed peas but not black-eyed beans.

From "Why are black eyed peas called peas when they are clearly beans?", a plausible answer seems to be "Jamaica, where a very popular dish there is Jamaican rice and peas. But, the 'peas' are actually small red beans that are the same size and shape as black-eyed peas, but red like kidney beans."

"The battle of the beans: Which are best?" seems to hedge bets by referring to these legumes as both peas and beans—"BLACK-EYED BEANS (black-eyed peas)".

* Are black beans in Mexican food the same as black beans in Chinese black bean sauce?

No. "Is black bean sauce made from black beans?" explains that "black bean sauce is made from dried, fermented soybeans, which turn a dark brownish-black during the curing process".

* What's with the fancy name "edamame" for soybeans?

"Edamame - What is Edamame?" differentiates these two types of soy beans.
Edamame is young soybeans, usually still in the pod. Because the beans are young and green when they are picked, edamame soybeans are soft and edible, not hard and dry like the mature soybeans which are used to make soy milk and tofu.
* Are the red beans for making red bean paste in Asian food the same beans as for red beans and rice?

No. The US Dry Bean Council's "Bean Varieties" site lists separate entries for adzuki and small red beans.

"How to make Red Bean Paste" shows how to make paste for Asian recipes. Although the video owner does not mention moon cakes, they are a major dessert that uses red bean paste.

"Red Beans and Rice" calls for small red beans. Numerous other recipes on the Web call for kidney beans.

* Split peas resemble lentils more than they do green peas. What's up with that?

"Relationship between split pea and green pea" specifies
the split pea and the green pea are one in the same. The split pea can be either a green pea or a yellow pea. Green split peas are identical to green peas. The difference lies in how they are processed. Both are the seeds of Pisum Sativum. To make a split pea, the green pea is peeled and dried. The skin is removed and a natural split occurs in the cotyledon. The split can be further exaggerated manually or mechanically.
* So, how do lentils differ from split peas?

"What's the Difference Between Split Peas and Lentils?" shows images side by side and explains:
Split peas are field peas, which are a variety of yellow or green peas grown specifically for drying. … Lentils are pulses, which are the dried seeds of legumes. There are two main groups, the large ones with flat seeds, and smaller more rounded ones.
* Pulse WRT lentils? What's a pulse, and how does it pertain to legume?

"What is a Pulse?" states that pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family. It further explains and contrasts "legume" and "pulse":
The term "legume" refers to the plants whose fruit is enclosed in a pod. … Pulses are part of the legume family, but the term “pulse” refers only to the dried seed. Dried peas, edible beans, lentils and chickpeas are the most common varieties of pulses.
* What are Mexican jumping beans, and what makes them jump?

From Wikipedia
seed pods that have been inhabited by the larva of a small moth (Cydia deshaisiana) and are native to Mexico. The "bean" is usually tan to brown in color. It "jumps" when heated because the larva spasms in an attempt to roll the seed to a cooler environment to avoid dehydration and consequent death.
Read further details and view images at "The Jumping Beans Life Cycle". Also view the short video explanation at "Why Do Jumping Beans Jump?".

The jumping beans don't whet my appetite. However, all this poring over bean info makes me want to cook beans, such as the pinto beans in my pic (and the rest of the one-pound package).

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Dozen Matter If 12 Is Significant

Why does 12 seem a significant quantity? The thought occurred to me after I counted to 12 in one of my exercise stretches that I usually count to 10. I then thought about terms and expressions that include "12" or "dozen".

The association between twelve and dozen are numerical meaning. From Online Etymology Dictionary,
from Old French dozaine "a dozen," from doze (12c.) "twelve," from Latin duodecim "twelve," from duo "two" + decem "ten".

Some Familiar Expressions that Refer to Dozen

a dozen eggs (in a carton)
from New York Times
Under a system that came to be known as English units, which was a combination of old Anglo-Saxon and Roman systems of measurement, eggs were sold by the dozen. It made sense to sell them that way because one egg could be sold for a penny or 12 for a shilling, which was equal to 12 pennies. That system held sway in the American colonies and persisted after the revolution, becoming part of the system known as U.S. customary units.
Why are Eggs Sold by the Dozen?
from fresheggsdaily
The number twelve has had special significance for man since the ancient times, from Jesus' twelve apostles to twelve full moons per year and twelve months in a year. There are twelve inches in a foot and twelve hourly divisions on a clock. There are twelve zodiac signs, twelve tribes of Israel and twelve Knights of the Round Table.
In Western Europe, particularly England, from as early as the 700s and continuing right up until around 1960, the Imperial Unit System was used. Under this system, there were twelve pennies to a shilling, likely because of the huge importance of the number twelve to civilization. This meant that an egg could be sold for a penny, or a dozen eggs could be sold for a shilling, with no change-making required.
cheaper by the dozen
from YourDictionary
"Things are handled more efficiently as a group, rather than individually." This expression is best known as a book and movie about a couple that has 12 children.
The Dirty Dozen
from IMDB
Another movie, this one about a US army major and 12 convicted murderers to assassinate German officers in World War II.
a dime a dozen
from knowyourphrase
copious newspapers from that time (1800s) advertised how certain kinds of food, like eggs, oranges, and peaches, were available for purchase by the dozen, and their cost was nothing more than a single dime
baker's dozen
from The Phrase Finder
the practice of medieval English bakers giving an extra loaf when selling a dozen in order to avoid being penalized for selling short weight
Maybe somewhat surprising, no national chain claims the name for baker's dozen. I found four independent shops with the name—all donut-themed.
Six of one or half a dozen of another
from Programmer Interview
“6 to one half dozen to the other” is a phrase that’s used to basically say that the 2 options you have are essentially the same. Since a dozen is 12, and half a dozen is 6, then it should be clear that 6 and half a dozen are basically 2 different ways of saying the same exact thing.
a gross of items, related to dozen—144, which can be 12 x 12 configuration/grid. From The Word Detective
The use of “gross” as a noun to mean “twelve dozen” (144) of something arose in English in the 15th century, drawn from the French “grosse douzaine” meaning “large dozen.”
In the 14th century, English adopted the Old French term “grossier” (from the Latin “grossarius,” wholesaler) as “grocer,” meaning a merchant who buys and sells “by the gross,” i.e., in large quantities.

About Time and Twelve

12 hours on a clock, most common display for number of hours, whether analog or digital—
The 24hourtime.info history section describes timekeeping and devices, 24 hour displays being the initial standard.
The origins of our 24 hour day can be traced back at least 4000 years, to ancient Egypt and Babylon, and perhaps further back in time. The Egyptians and Babylonians divided the parade of stars that appeared in the sky each night into 12 sections, marked by the various stars that rose and set that night.
Gradually the 12 hour dial became used for most standard clocks, and the 24 hour dial was reserved for the more esoteric, technical, or complex clocks.
12 days of Christmas and related Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night
from A Company of Fools
'Twelfth Night' is usually considered to be a reference to Epiphany, or the twelfth night of the Christmas celebration (January 6), as in the popular song “Twelve Days of Christmas”
12 months in a year
from Calendar Origins
Ultimately, all calendars began with people recording time by using natural cycles: days, lunar cycles (months), and solar cycles (years). ... The Ancient Egyptians are credited with the first calendar of 12 months.
12 signs of the Zodiac WRT ecliptic
from Space.com
ecliptic, the apparent path the sun appears to take through the sky as a result of the Earth's revolution around it. … Because of the Earth's yearly revolution around the sun, the sun appears to move in its annual journey through the heavens with the ecliptic as its path. … Twelve constellations through which the ecliptic passes form the Zodiac.
12 years in the Chinese Zodiac
from Time
Because the Chinese calendar is based on the moon's rotation, the new year can occur anytime from mid-January to late February. According to legend, the calendar was created by Ta Nao, a minister of Emperor Huang Ti's, and has been used in Asia since 4000 B.C. … After 12 years, the cycle restarts, matching the length of Jupiter's solar orbit.

Untimed 12

12 inches to the foot
from Fact Monster
In the 14th century, King Edward II of England ruled that 1 inch equaled 3 grains of barley placed end to end lengthwise.
12 disciples, and other biblical references to 12
from patheos
There were 12 tribes in Israel and this symbolizes the completeness of the nation Israel. Jacob had 12 sons which were the heads or fathers of each of the 12 tribes of Israel which are likened to 12 princes. ... Jesus chose 12 disciples who later became the 12 apostles which seem to fit the context of the number 12 used elsewhere in the Bible as this number also signified governmental rule or authority.
"12th of Never", recorded by Johnny Mathis and the group Earth, Wind & Fire

An Oddball Connection to 12

In my online travels for this article, I encountered a site, "Printable Paper Graph Paper", where you can print grid paper, including 10 x 10 or 12 x 12 to the inch. This site could be very useful for students who graph images. The top level "Free Paper" site shows numerous other printable offerings.
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