Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Desert Locavore: Tepary Beans

Originally uploaded by tanrazz

Tepary beans are beans harvest ed by the Tohono O’odham Indians in southern Arizona.

Tepary beans are high in protein and fiber and are the perfect low glycemic food. Indians have a high concentration of diabetes and the tepary beans as well as other foods help to combat the disease.

If you’re making tepary beans in the crockpot like I did, don’t add salt until the beans are cooked because salt makes the beans tough. I didn’t use any meat (because I couldn’t find a local bone to complement my week of eating locally) but ideally I think a ham bone or meaty bone would be a good addition.

I sauteed onion and garlic first and then put that in the crockpot with a lot of water as the beans absorb. Adding some fresh carrots or potatoes would also be a good idea.

The finished tepary bean soup was very good and tasted better the next day.

My friend has a diabetic dog and feeds him tepary beans; it’s done wonders.

  1. I love beans and have always used canned beans because of the convenience. I tried cooking beans once or twice in years past, but they never were as soft as I wanted them. I will try again, using your tip about the salt. Thanks.

  2. Mary,
    I eat a lot of beans too.
    In the summer it’s too hot to do much in my kitchen and I am quite content to eat beans as they are a low glycemic food.
    I always eat canned beans (except for the desert locavore experiment). I rinse them as canned beans have too much salt.

    I frequently mix the beans with BBQ sauce or salsa and add other vegetables and a grain like brown rice or quinoa. Very feeling.

    Sometimes I add canned beans like white cannelini beans or red kidney beans to a salad which becomes the salad’s protein. I may add a sprinkling of cheese or a diced hard boiled egg.

    Beans are still a deal. At Trader Joe’s I’ve found refried low fat black beans with jalapenos. I add some salsa, now America’s favorite condiment, and eat it with some chips or spread on whole wheat pita.

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