Kidney beans are named for their shape, which resembles human kidneys. Light and Dark Red Kidney beans are one of many legumes in the "common bean" family. Their uncommonly rich flavour and creamy texture also make them one of North America's most popular beans. Kidney Bean Facts Kidney beans are low in fat, are loaded with protein and also are a source of iron. Since these red beans hold their shape exceptionally well during cooking and efficiently absorb surrounding spices and flavours, they are a favourite bean to use in simmered dishes and marinated bean salads. When combined with whole grains, kidney beans provide virtually fat-free, high-quality protein. All beans are marvels of nature's kitchen: filled with beneficial phytonutrients, soluble and insoluble dietary fiber and protein. They're storehouses of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals including zinc, potassium, magnesium and folate. Tasty Tips and Storage Kidney beans can be used pretty much like pinto beans and are an essential ingredient of chilli. They make an excellent side dish or addition to any recipe calling for beans. Enjoy alone or combined with other beans in delicious salads, or cook up some traditional Red Beans and Rice with kidney beans. Like most beans, kidney beans benefit from soaking before cooking. Soak them for six to eight hours before cooking, or bring to a boil in water, remove from heat, cover and soak for 1 hour. Always drain soaking water before cooking. To cook add fresh water and cover the beans by two inches. Boil uncovered for about 10 minutes and skim off any foam. Traditionally, a strip of Kombu seaweed is used in Asia to help soften beans (added at the beginning of cooking). Cover pot and simmer for about one and a half hours. Add seasonings as desired; beans benefit from adding salt during the last half hour or so of cooking. Like most stored foods, beans are best stored in the absence of oxygen and light, which can speed rancidity and fade bean colour. Store in a cool dark pantry in our resealable bags or an airtight container. Refrigerated/frozen storage isn't recommended for dried beans, which will last for a year or more properly stored in the pantry.