Last updateFri, 23 Feb 2024 1pm

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Beans can also be a snack

Researchers of the Galicia Biological Mission (MBG) of the CSIC have obtained new varieties of beans. One of them called Pop, or nuñas, which can be prepared as a snack and the Ollo de Pita beans, a traditional variety with high gastronomical and culinary value. This centre has been working for a long time to improve the different crops of the Galician region and for the conservation of its plant genetic resources.

Ollo de Pita bean. Image: CSIC.Researchers of the Galicia Biological Mission (MBG) a center of the CSIC, directed by Antonio M. De Ron, have obtained the variety of bean called Pop, or nuñas, which presents some different characteristics to the traditional culinary beans.

These beans proceed originally from the Andean area and the researchers of the MBG brought them to the Iberian Peninsula more than ten years ago and adapted them to the climatological conditions and of the light of the Mediterranean area.

In order to achieve this, the researchers developed two lines of work in which crossed the Andean plant with autochthonous varieties and made a selection of the best shoots. They achieved two varieties or lines of improved beans. In this project of research took part researchers of the University of Almeria.

These beans are so special because with the heat, they react like the dried fruits. When they are heated they can burst like popcorn. But the really interesting thing is that when they are roasted at the proper temperature, they react like the peanuts: the skin is removed and they split in half. This has been tested with a home roaster.

At the moment, the researchers are working to register a variety of these beans and find a company interested in developing a process of industrial roast. There are beans enough to perform the necessary tests, as confirmed Professor Antonio M. De Ron.

It is a very interesting product because it may be placed on the market as a snack - like dried fruit- but it has the advantage to be healthier, as it is fat-free. This makes it an ideal snack for children and adults.

On the other hand, the MBG is focusing part of its efforts on the protection and optimum development of the local varieties of beans. For example, the bean called Ollo de Pita. This is a kind of bean of grain obtained by massal or traditional selection. It belongs to a local variety from the Pontevedra area and it has a grain of average to big size and a characteristic dark stain around the hilum. The bean owes its name to this stain (eye of hen). It belongs to the international variety hen’s eye. It has a high culinary value and is very productive. These beans are a variety protected and registered variety that they are the property of the CSIC.

They are also working with other varieties of traditional culinary beans (also very productive and with high gastronomic value): Alba and Peregrina.

The Galicia Biological Mission (MBG) has been working for a long time to improve and preserve the different crops of the Galician region and for the conservation and characterization of its plant genetic resources.


Juan P. Duque
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Delegación del CSIC en Castilla y León
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