Chestnut brown in color with a small white-eye, this variety of dried bean is grown on a bush and then dried for use in a variety of foods. Often referred to as a Swedish Brown Bean, this bean is used to make the popular Swedish style Brown Bean casserole in its Scandanavian homeland where the bean had origins. Some of the typical combinations for this bean in Swedish cooking includes pairing it with bacon, ham, chunks of pork, Swedish meatballs, pork sausage, potato sausage, and different vegetables. The Brown Bean is often served in soups, chili, chowders, stews, salads, and various types of bean casseroles, providing a mild and somewhat nutty taste with a rich bean flavor. Cranberry, pinto or black beans may be used as a substitute if necessary.
To prepare, soak for several hours or overnight in salt water. Remove beans from water and discard water. Boil 5 cups of water for each pound of beans. Bring water to a boil, turn down temperature and add beans to hot water. Cook beans for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. For storage of dried, uncooked beans, place in an airtight container away from heat in an area that is cool and dry. Beans can be kept for up to a year.