There are so many bean varieties, and often we categorize these bean varieties based on their physical qualities.
A number of bean varieties with a white outer coat are sometimes simply referred to as white beans which could be confusing as each of these varieties has its peculiarities.
However, these white beans differ only slightly when it comes to taste and texture, and they are often substituted for each other in certain recipes.
It might come in handy to be able to tell them apart, especially when a specific variety of white beans is better suited for a certain recipe.
Butter beans and cannellini beans are both examples of white beans.
Taxonomically, these two bean varieties are different species of beans; cannellini beans are a cultivar of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) while butter beans are known scientifically as Phaseolus lutanus
In this post, we discuss a few distinguishing features between butter beans and cannellini beans, including their seeds, plants, and how they are used.
Butter beans are not so different from green lima beans. They are the same species but at a mature stage of development.
This variety of beans is also known by other names, such as; Madagascar bean, wax bean, or chad bean.
Unlike the green and fleshy immature form of this type of bean, the fully mature form usually has large seeds that are white or cream in color.
The outer coat of butter beans is not always entirely white, often they could have purple or brown speckles.
These beans have a flat shape which could be used to distinguish them from cannellini beans. They are also slightly oval in shape.
Butter beans plant has both pole and bush varieties. The pods on the plant are flattened and semi-circle, and there are about 2 to 3 beans in each pod.
You can find butter beans in grocery stores as dried or canned beans.
These beans are used in salad, stews and soups. When cooked, butter beans have a creamy texture.
Butter beans are a rich source of protein, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and vitamins. They are starchy and also contain a good amount of dietary fibers.
They have also been found to be low in fats and cholesterol.
These beans are one of the most common types of white beans.
Cannellini beans are also known as white kidney beans because of their shape.
Just like their red counterpart; the red kidney beans, cannellini beans are also a variety of the common beans (phaseolus vulgaris)
These white beans have a very creamy texture and are particularly popular in Italian cuisine.
The growth pattern of their plants is of the bush type, and therefore, they do not need staking.
There are about 5 to 8 beans in each pod of cannellini beans, and the pods turn to a yellow hue when mature,
You could find the canned or dried cannellini beans in grocery stores.
These beans have a high content of soluble fibers and calcium but are low in cholesterol and fats
Difference between cannellini and butter beans
The flat shape of butter beans is one obvious distinguishing feature between butter beans and cannellini beans.
Also, cannellini beans have a kidney shape just like the red kidney beans, and because of this, they are known as the white kidney beans
These two beans both have large size seeds, but the cannellini beans are larger in size compared to butter beans.
Cannellini beans are about half an inch to one inch long. butter beans are on average about a quarter of an inch in size.
Other white beans varieties
1. Great northern bean: A medium-sized white beans that is also a variety of the common bean, it has a delicate flavor and is commonly used in soups.
2. Navy beans: These beans are smaller compared to the rest. They are also a variety of the common bean.
3. Black-eyed peas or beans. These beans are common all around the world. They are a medium-sized variety of white beans with a black spot. These beans are a variety of cowpea(vigna unguiculata) and belong to a different genus from the rest of the other white beans.