Gloria could be the “secret weapon” to promote the consumption of beans with more nutrients in the district of Pescador, Department of Cauca, Colombia.DegustFrijol_Cauca2_Abr 2015

She is a proud Colombian “born and bred,” and as such, a lover of beans, a dish that has its place on every table in eastern Colombia. She knows better than anyone how to cook them, eat them, and how nutritious they can be. And she knows, thanks to the years she has been living in Pescador with her husband, children, and grandchildren, and cooking them daily as part of their regular diet, how much her friends and neighbors like them and eat them.

Because of that, she was put in charge of preparing the beans for the taste testing carried out with farmers and their families, and learning “first hand” their opinion and acceptance, not only for their flavor, but for their hardness and cooking characteristics as well.

Today Gloria started her work at 5:00 a.m., because it was up to her to prepare three pots of beans, in the same way and using the same amount of time, ingredients, and accompanying dishes, but using a different variety of beans for each pot.

Being careful not to make any mistakes, because she knew that confusion can be the difference between acceptance and rejection, Gloria carefully marked the pots with 3 of the 6 varieties that were evaluated between March 2014 and February 2015 by various farmers of this district.

Once the cooking was done, Gloria spoke like the expert she is in the preparation of beans: “I like them all. Only one variety ended up with less broth; that is, it was drier than the other beans, but all three are equally delicious,” she said, smiling.

The selection and tasting of the 3 lines was done on the basis of their agronomic and nutritional behavior. Even though they do not know it yet, two of the varieties that they tasted contain high levels of iron and zinc: One has 95 ppm of iron and 45 ppm of zinc, and the other one has 87.6 ppm of iron and 52.4 ppm of zinc. Both varieties, in addition to having a widely accepted culinary quality, also presented optimal conditions in the dry season and good yield.

The third variety won the greatest percentage of acceptance, in its agronomic quality, opportunity for marketing, and culinary quality, but its nutritional content is lower: 60 ppm of iron and 35 ppm of zinc.

DegustFrijol_Cauca_Abr 2015Nonetheless, in the end, all 3 varieties enjoyed good acceptance. “They have a good flavor, they are not hard, and there is not much difference in the color of the bean. We would eat them at home without any problems,” commented the group of participants.

And so they did. Not in their own houses, but in Gloria’s house. One hour after the start of “operation taste test,” the beans, the favorite dish of a good part of the Colombian population, remained in the “custody” of the farmers and their families for a nutritious lunch.

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