Food Culture

Celebrate National Bean Day: January 6, 2024

Last Updated on February 23, 2024 | 0 Comments
National Bean Day

The sixth of January is National Bean Day, and you should mark this day in any way you’d like to celebrate the versatility and usefulness of this popular and nutritious legume. This is one of those food holidays worth celebrating because this is a staple food of many cuisines and has been a popular dish since historic times. 

Did you ever wonder if you know enough about beans? Or maybe you need to come up with creative ways to cook beans? This January, make National Bean Day fun and unique with a few ideas suggested below.


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Origins of National Bean Day

The person behind the creation of National Bean Day is Paula Bowen, who was raised in a pinto-farming family and was thus well-acquainted with growing and using beans. Bowen allegedly created this food holiday to commemorate not only her father but also to pay respect to the German-Czech biologist and geneticist Gregor Mendel, who died on January 6th, 1884, explaining her choice of this date for National Bean Day. Mendel famously used a wide range of legumes for his experiments, which included breeding them to contribute many priceless discoveries on genes. 

National Bean Day honors the death of Gregor Mendel.
via Canva

5 Ways to Celebrate National Bean Day

1. Try a New Bean Recipe

Beans are not a strictly seasonal food item, and they are a perfect dish any time of the year and for any occasion. Why should you get creative with beans this January? Is there anything better than cooking when the weather outside is cold and you’re hungry and cozied up at home? We all know about the classic baked, boiled or canned beans you’d combine with other main dishes or eat alone. But this National Bean Day, try to attend a cooking class near you and discover how to make unique bean recipe variations. 

If you’re just looking for a good, savory recipe that’s easy to prepare and even easier to love, refried black beans are a classic dish that will zest up any chip or tortilla they come into contact with. 

refried black beans
via Cozymeal

2. Try a New Type of Bean

You surely haven’t tried all the beans out there. This National Bean Day, pick one you haven’t tried before from:

  • Black beans
  • Black-eyed peas 
  • Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • Cannellini beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Great Northern beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Lima beans
  • Navy beans
  • Cranberry beans
  • Fava beans
  • Edamame beans
  • Adzuki beans (red mung bean)
  • Soybeans
  • Mung beans 

3. Upgrade Your Current Bean Recipes

Have you considered revamping the bean recipes you already know how to make, especially the humble baked bean? There are dozens of ways to dress up this classic dish. Trade pancetta for bacon and tomato sauce for ketchup for an Italian-style take. Swap shiitake mushrooms for the meat for a vegan version. Don’t be afraid to make a big pot; you can freeze baked beans for later. Explore some other options and get creative for an ultimate National Bean Day celebration.

Upgrade your bean recipes on National Bean Day.
via Cozymeal

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4. Make Bean Bags or Ice Packs

This idea is simple and useful if you don’t have an ice pack. Just fill a cloth pack with beans and place it in the fridge to cool off. If you don’t need it for cooling off, just repurpose it as a kid’s toy — as long as the bag is fully sewn shut!

5. Make Bean Ornaments

There are plenty of other uses for beans besides consuming them. Mark this National Bean Day by making a collage craft with beans, or fill a Mason jar with beans and make an ornamental holder for dried flowers or even a tall candle. 

dried beans forming a heart shape on gray background
via Canva

6 Fun Facts About Beans

1. Beans for Newlyweds

Newlywed couples in Nicaragua have their own personal “Bean Day!” They receive a bowl filled with beans as a gift because this is believed to bring them good luck.

2. Beans for Political Elections

In ancient times, Greeks believed they should conduct elections for public officials through a bean draw. They would mix a single white bean with a bunch of black beans. The person who picked that single white bean would win the election. 

white beans
via Canva

3. Bean Soup for U.S. Senate Officials

Did you know that U.S. Senate officials liked beans so much that they have bean soup on their daily menu? Ever since the 1900s, this soup has been a must-have menu staple for the officials in Washington. 

4. Beans for Gorgeous Hair

If you consume beans regularly, you’ll take in plenty of zinc through a plant-based protein that keeps hair follicles healthy and luscious. 

a woman showing her shiny hair
via Canva

5. Beans for Beauty

Beans were used in ancient Egypt to brighten up uneven skin tones with a mashed mung bean exfoliant paste. It’s also believed that ancient Chinese royalties used mung beans similarly.

6. Beans for Brits

Brits consume 38.5 tons of cooked beans nationwide every hour, mostly for breakfast.

British baked beans on toast
via Canva

Don’t forget to celebrate National Bean Day this January through these creative recipes and crafts with beans. Enjoy this legume’s versatility and benefits fully, because not every day is National Bean Day.

For even more ways to celebrate food holidays, check out other experiences happening on Cozymeal.