Legume of the month: Pinto beans

The most commonly eaten type of bean in the United States, pinto beans are especially popular in southern states, where they may be known as frijoles (Spanish for "beans") or cowboy beans. These oval, tan-colored beans are mottled with reddish-brown streaks, making them appear painted (pinto means "painted" in Spanish).

Once they're cooked, the colored splotches disappear, leaving a light-brown bean with a soft, creamy texture. In Mexico, Central America, and South America, pintos are cooked with epazote, an herb that purportedly helps reduce the flatulence-producing properties of these and other beans. Another tip for avoiding that problem is to add beans to your diet gradually and eat them regularly.

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