Today, January 6th, is National Bean Day.
This isn't the Japanese Setsubun, or Bean Throwing Festival, celebrated the day before spring. Instead, this is a celebration of the bean.
There are many different types of bean. The name refers to large plant seeds, primarily of the Fabaceae family, also known as Leguminosae. The word legume refers to some of the plants and seeds in that family.
There are tens of thousands of bean types, some of which are used for human or animal foods. Some of the most common are the broad, or fava, bean, lentils, runner beans, kidney beans, soybeans and peanuts - yes, peanuts are beans and not nuts.
Certain bean types that are commonly eaten, such as kidney beans, contain a toxin that must be removed by proper preparation and cooking.
Beans have a variety of nutritional properties, and are a good source of protein, making them useful for a vegetarian diet.