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Speckled Beans

Cambridge Dictionary defines the word “speckled” as “having very small marks of a different color from the surface on which they are found.” So when we say speckled beans, we are talking about different varieties of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) with a speckled appearance, and right now, there are a lot of them out there. 

The first to come to mind when we talk about speckled beans is the pinto bean. In Spanish, pinto beans are called judias pintas and the literal English translation is “speckled bean.” Pinto beans are used in making refried beans and chili. These are creamy, earthy, and nutty.

Here are other examples:

Cranberry beans are characterized by the dark red specks dotting the pink skin of the beans. This bean has a nutty flavor and is commonly used in Italian cooking.

There are types of kidney beans that fall under the category of speckled beans. Kidney beans come in different colors (white, cream, black, red, purple) but there are also kidney beans that are striped, spotted, or mottled. Two of the four types of kidney beans are speckled: red kidney beans, white kidney beans, light speckled kidney beans, and red speckled kidney beans.

Speckled Bean Trivia

  • It is common knowledge that beans – even speckled beans – cause flatulence. Make beans less potent by discarding the water used to soak beans. Or rinse canned beans. You can also add a little vinegar.
  • If you find the appearance of speckled beans unappetizing, don’t worry. When you cook speckled beans, the spots will disappear, revealing a plain color. 
  • The farming practice of Native Americans known as The Three Sisters is composed of three crops: corn, squash, and beans.

Speckled Bean Buying Guide

Where to find speckled beans? You can buy speckled beans from grocery stores, supermarkets, farmers’ markets, ethnic food stores, gourmet food stores, health food stores, farm stands, and online vendors. It is typical to find speckled beans stacked in a heap in the market and you can buy depending on how much you need, unlike packaged or canned beans which are sold in a specific quantity or weight.

Before heading out to buy beans, make sure you know what type of beans you need, depending on what you are planning to cook and eat. Consider also the fact that the store near you may not have the kind of beans you are looking for so list down your alternatives and ask if they have these instead.

Speckled Bean Production & Farming in Texas

Beans are a warm-season crop. Planting starts in May and harvest starts in August. Use well-draining soil when planting beans. Soil pH (H2O) of 5.8-6.5 (pH KCl at 4.8-5.5) is ideal. If you are living in Central Texas, you can plant in late spring or early summer and expect to harvest by fall. 

If you are planning on growing pinto beans, you can do it regardless of where you are in Texas because pinto beans are grown state-wide. The High Plains of northwest Texas is known for its high yield of high-quality pinto beans, and the harvest in this area plays an important role in Texas’ and the US’ annual exportation of pinto beans to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean nations, and other markets.

North Central and Rolling Plains regions can start planting come mid-April up to early May. May is a great time to plant in the South Plains; late May to early June is ideal for Panhandle counties. Planting in South Texas should take place in March, while Central and East Texas can start planting in April. 


Pesticides are used to grow plants that yield different kinds of speckled beans like pinto beans and kidney beans. Several pests attack the plants and chemical control is necessary.

  • Aphids – Kill aphids using neem oil, insecticidal soap, or horticultural oil. You can also use the pesticide malathion, which is the most commonly used organophosphate insecticide in the United States, or rotenone, a selective, non-specific insecticide typically used in home gardens for insect control.
  • Whiteflies – Malathion or Pyrethrins are effective against whiteflies.
  • Leafhopper – Use pyrethroid insecticides like bifenthrin, organophosphates insecticides like malathion, pyrethrins, or any systemic insecticide (acephate, imidacloprid, or disulfoton).
  • Spotted maize beetle – The use of man-made pesticide carbaryl is the solution to get rid of beetles. Other options include pyrethroid insecticides like cyfluthrin and Lambda cyhalothrin, pesticide malathion, pyrethrin spray, permethrin insecticide, and spinosad. You can also use Kaolin clay, Beauveria bassiana, and/or botanical insecticides.
  • Bean bug – Bug sprays are effective against this pest. Use man-made pesticide carbaryl to rid of bugs.
  • Cutworms – Pesticides such as carbaryl will kill cutworms. Pyrethroid insecticides like cyfluthrin and the insecticide permethrin are also useful for this purpose.
  • Leafminer – Use spinosad against leafminers.
  • Thrips – To kill thrips, there is a wide array of options to choose from: horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, anti-parasite spray spinosad, or pyrethrin pesticides with piperonyl butoxide.
  • Weevil – To prevent larvae infestations, it is advisable to use juvenile parasitic nematodes. A serious infestation of bean weevils requires the use of pyrethrum, rotenone, or sabadilla.


In China, you can buy light speckled kidney beans. In India, they have purple speckled kidney beans. In Zimbabwe, you can find the red speckled kidney bean. There are also red speckled kidney beans from the Dominican Republic. You can order this online. The Anasazi bean is another kind of speckled bean. This kidney-shaped bean has red-and-white specks. Anasazi means “ancient ones” in Navajo. This sweet speckled bean is commonly used in Mexican dishes. Speckled pinto beans are a popular crop in Northern Mexico and Southwestern US. Kidney beans, including speckled kidney beans, are popular in Indian cuisine. Here, they call it rajma. In the US, you’ll find kidney beans in many Louisiana Creole recipes. The same appreciation for this type of bean is found in other parts of the world, like in Spain, Netherlands, Indonesia, and the Levant.

The US is sixth in the global production of dry beans, which includes kidney beans and pinto beans. The number one producer in the US is North Dakota. Pinto beans are the most commonly consumed dry beans in the U.S., along with navy beans, great northern beans, red kidney beans, and black beans.

Some types of sugar beans are also speckled beans. Half white sugar beans, a South African heirloom pole bean, also have a speckled appearance. This is used to make sous boontjies (sauce beans) in Eastern Cape, South Africa. A tan speckled bean that you can buy online originated from Khabarovsk, Siberia.


Dry beans are sold in sealed plastic packs. Cooked beans are sold in cans. Packaging for speckled bean products should contain important consumer information like the name of the manufacturer, expiration date, nutritional information, ingredients, etc. Packaging should be free from damage that could affect the quality of the beans.

Enjoying Speckled Beans

Speckled beans are consumed in many parts of the world. Speckled beans are usually eaten with rice, meat, poultry, and vegetables. This is an important part of the diet in many countries because these are easy to grow, cheap, and nutritious. 


It is best not to store speckled beans for longer than 2 years. Use it, cook it, and eat it within that period. It is impractical to store them indefinitely since speckled beans are sold all year long and they are not hard to find. While in storage, always keep the container or packaging closed. You can use the original packaging or transfer it to a plastic or glass food container. Store in a cool, dry place. No need to refrigerate unless cooked. In the refrigerator, cooked speckled beans will last for 2 to 3 days. In the freezer, it will last for up to six months.


Pinto beans are popular in Brazilian and Spanish cuisine. The heirloom bean red speckled kidney bean from the Dominican Republic is great if you are making stewed beans – Habichuelas Guisadas Dominicanas considered by many as the official lunch in every Dominican home, chili, or bean salads.

It is important to soak beans before cooking. If you are soaking beans overnight, room temperature water is enough. If you are soaking for just one hour, use hot water. Soaking is an important part of pre-cooking preparation because soaking cuts down the starch that could cause an upset stomach.

When cooking beans, remember that using low heat in a slow cooker will not kill toxins in beans. Remember to cook beans correctly since kidney beans are toxic if not prepared properly. They also contain antinutrients (phytic acid, protease inhibitors, starch blockers).

Canned beans are cooked, so this can be eaten straight from the can. You can also heat canned beans before eating if you want to eat hot food.

Speckled beans are used to make different beans-based dishes like couscous salad and chili con carne.

Cooking time is longer for kidney beans compared to pinto beans. Kidney beans are ideal for soups, stews, jambalaya, baked beans, or recipes requiring long cooking time, while pinto beans are great for making hummus.

Nutritional Benefits:

Speckled beans are full of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Speckled beans contain calories, protein, carbs, fiber, vitamins, and minerals (molybdenum, folate, iron, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, thiamin, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin K1). Eating speckled beans helps in weight loss because they are effective in curbing hunger pangs. These also help manage blood sugar levels and prevent colon cancer and heart disease. Pinto beans and kidney beans both have zero trans fats. Beans contain 2 to 3 times more fiber than cereal crops (e.g. corn, rice). This crop has no cholesterol.



  • Serving Size: 1 Serving
  • Calories: 149g 7%
  • Carbs: 32.5g 11%
  • Sugar: 0g 0%
  • Fiber: 0g 0%
  • Protein: 10.6g 21%
  • Fat: 0.8g 1%
  • Saturated Fat: 0.1g 1%
  • Trans Fat 0g 0%
  • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
  • Sodium 24mg 1%
  • Vitamin C 12.5mg 21%
  • Vitamin A 199IU 4%
  • Calcium 43.2mg 4%
  • Iron 2.7mg 15%
  • Potassium 457mg 13%
  • Vitamin B6 0.3mg 16%
  • Niacin 3.7mg 19%
  • Riboflavin 0.2mg 11%
  • Thiamin 0.3mg 18%
  • Folate 173mcg 43%
  • Magnesium 67.2mg 17%
  • Zinc 1.3mg 8%

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