The Navy Bean is so named because it was a staple food of the United States Navy in the early 20th century. These small, creamy white beans are a standard ingredient in traditional baked beans. Navy Beans - The Pea Bean The navy bean, also known as the pea bean, originated in Italy. It's known for smooth flavour and a creamy texture. Because these beans were such popular food on America's first naval vessels, it became known as the Navy Bean. Mild-flavoured, they're anything but mild when it comes to nutrition. 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 iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium and folate. Beans are cholesterol-free and contain no saturated fat. Navy Beans are also rich in tryptophan, an important amino acid that helps promote relaxation and healthy sleep. Tasty Tips and Storage Navy Beans are the variety most often seen in pork and beans or baked beans. They're a traditional ingredient in minestrone, and can be used in virtually any other soup or stew. Navy Beans substitute well for great northern beans or baby limas in recipes and is a good salad bean. Like most beans, Navy 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. One cup of dry beans makes about 2-1/2 cups of cooked beans. 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. It typically takes about 1-1/2 to 2 hours for them to cook. 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 correctly stored in the pantry.