Potxas de Getxo

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Potxas de Getxo or pochas are a variety of white beans that are consumed fresh before reaching maturity. They are found in Getxo, in the province of Biscay in northern Spain. The pod of the beans has a faded color at the time of the harvest, ranging from light green to white. They are considered vegetables when they are collected at this point, before becoming legumes. They are tender in texture, juicy and sweet.   The beans are high in carbohydrates and fiber, and the white seeds themselves contain iron in abundance. Potxas de Getxo are known for their vegetal protein content, and also contain magnesium and phosphorus. Almost a quarter of the weight of the fresh beans is water, making them more tender than traditional dried beans. As they are used as a fresh vegetable, they are not soaked first, but should be cooked before eating and not consumed raw. Peppers and tomatoes are vegetables are often served with the beans and complement the beans’ vitamin C content. They are also often cooked in olive oil in a pressure cooker.   The beans have a long history in Europe, and the Arabs of the Iberian Peninsula, particularly in Andalusia, cultivated numerous plant species, including twelve varieties of beans. While in different lands of the peninsula the beans enjoyed great prestige, in Navarra and the Basque Country, growers did not wait until the beans were mature, and therefore did not preserve them to consume throughout the year. In contrast, the beans were collected and consumed before maturity only as a seasonal product. From this came the tradition of the white beans of Getxo. Today though, with the introduction of more widespread commercial varieties in the area, potxas de Getxo are increasingly difficult to find being cultivated or commercially sold.

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