Pinto Bean - Cooking time: 1.5 to 2 hours.
Pinto comes from the Spanish word "painted," highlighting their mottled beige and brown skin. This medium-sized bean is the most widely produced bean in the U.S. and a staple in the diets of Northern Mexico and the American Southwest. The solid texture and flavor of Pintos make them great for Chili, burritos, refried beans, and many dips.
Black Bean - Cooking time: 1 to 1.5 hours.
Black beans, or Black Turtle beans are medium to small, oval shaped beans with a shinny black skin (actually a dark purple) and a small white eye or spot (called a "keel"). This bean is the most popular in the Americas and Caribbean and has enjoyed a recent popularity surge in the U.S. The black bean's wide use in salads, dips, stews, thick soups, and burritos comes from its sweet tasting, mushroom-like flavor and soft texture.
Navy Bean - Cooking time: 1.5 to 2 hours.
The Navy bean is also known as a Boston or Pea bean. The small white bean draws its name from the fundamental role it played in the diet of the U.S. Navy during the second half of the 19th Century. The Navy bean is widely used for the Boston or English baked beans but has the flexibility to be found in many other recipes. Its refined texture and skin which does not break up during cooking and its delicate flavor make it perfect for soups, salads, casseroles, or ethnic dishes.
Light and Dark Red Kidney Beans - Cooking time: 1.5 to 2 hours.
Forget all of the hogwash that true chili doesn't have beans, Kidney beans have been a standby for generations. The obvious shape and color of the Kidney bean make it easy to guess where the name came from. Whether the light red class (shown top left) or the dark red class (shown bottom left), the Red Kidney's size and color makes it a wonderful additional to nearly any dish. The Light Red Kidney is especially popular in the Caribbean region as well as Portugal and Spain. Along with chili or chili con carne, Kidney beans' full flavor and soft texture make them perfect for salads, sandwiches, dip, and red beans and rice. They retain a wonderful shape even with cooked dishes that require a long-simmering time.
Great Northern Bean - Cooking time: 45 to 60 minutes.
Great Northern beans are a medium sized bean with a fairly flat kidney shape. This North American bean is popular in the Middle East, Northern Africa, Spain, Greece, Italy, and particularly France where it is used for making cassoulet (a white bean casserole). The Great Northern adds a delicate, slightly nutty flavor to dishes and can be a substitute for the smaller Navy bean in any recipe.
Small Red Bean - Cooking time: 1 to 1.5 hours.
The Small Red bean is popular in diets from the Caribbean and Central American regions where it is often eaten with rice. Although often used interchangeably with Kidney beans, Small Reds have a slightly smoother texture and taste. The Small Red holds its shape and firmness when cooked and can be used in chili, baked beans, spicy Cajun recipes (including the famous red beans and rice), or any recipe that calls for a Kidney bean.
Cranberry Bean - Cooking time: 45 to 60 minutes.
The Cranberry bean (Roman/October bean) is a medium-sized bean, with red speckles and streaks that contrast its mottled tan skin. The bean of preference in Northern Spain and Italy, the Cranberry has a creamy texture with an earthy flavor that approaches that of chestnuts. A must try dish is Pasta e Fagioli (pasta with beans) from Italy.
Garbanzos - Cooking Time 1.5 to 2 hours
Garbanzos (or chickpeas) are round and medium in size with a beige color. Cooked, they have a firm texture and nut-like flavor which make them excellent in salads and soups. They can also be ground into a flour and used as a main ingredient in Middle Eastern dishes such as hummus and falafel. Garbanzos are higher in fat and protein than other commonly eaten beans.
Pinks - Cooking Time – 1 hour These beans are a small, pale, pink-colored pink bean. Pink beans typically turn a reddish brown color when cooked and can be used as a substitute for pinto beans. Their sweet flavor and meaty texture makes them popular for South American recipes and “Old West” recipes like chili.