The Great Northern Bean is another white bean, yet their color leans toward cream rather than white, and their shape is similar to the lima bean yet smaller. Although Great Northern Beans are usually grown in the Midwest, they started in the North, North Dakota to be exact. Its originator was Oscar H. Will of Bismarck, North Dakota’s Pioneer Seedman. Establishing a nursery in North Dakota in 1882 he began experimenting with native corn varieties. When given a bag of beans, he continued experimenting and from those beans developed and introduced the Great Northern Bean in 1896. It is still cultivated today in North Dakota as well as other Midwest states. You can find this particular bean in many grocery stores today, in dried form as well as canned. In the UK (United Kingdom), the Great Northern Bean is known as Cannellini beans.
Great Northern beans contain fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, protein and calcium not to mention they are low in calories and sugar yet high in dietary fiber and protein. />These beans can help slow carbohydrate absorption, which researchers say may help control hunger, curb weight gain, and moderate peak blood sugar. They may also be helpful in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, immune system disorders, diabetes and some cancers, as we’ve learned with other “beans”.
Any recipe that uses navy beans or cannellini beans can be made with Great Northern Beans as well. They absorb flavors extremely well and when adding various spices in cooking they will easily take on the flavor profile of the spices or herbs but with a grainier texture than other white beans.
The next time you eat Great Northern Beans, you can thank Oscar H. Will for his contribution to your health.
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