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What Are Great Northern Beans?


  • Versatile; great in a variety of dishes
  • Popular in North America
  • Developed by South American Indian farmers
Scientific name: Phaseolus Vulgaris

Scientific name: Phaseolus Vulgaris

The Great Northern Bean Story

Adept cultivators, South American Indian farmers are thought to be responsible for developing Great Northern beans in addition to corn. Great Northerns are called “common beans” and are botanically classified as Phaseolus vulgaris alongside red kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, pink beans, and navy beans. These so-called common beans were spread through Central and South America by migrating farmers. Spanish explorers brought these beans back home when returning from their voyages to the New World and also helped introduce these beans to Africa through trade.

Great Northern beans have a delicate, nutty flavor and are popular in soups, stews, and casseroles. They can be mixed with pinto beans or served as a substitute for navy beans and cannellini beans. While they are popular in America, Great Northerns can be found in Serbian prebranac, a Serbian baked beans dish, and can be used as a substitute for Swedish brown beans in bruna bönor.

Our favorite Great Northern Bean links:
How to Cook Beans and Peas
How to Soak Your Beans
Great Northern Bean Recipes
Camellia Brand Great Northern Beans