Part of the experience of visiting and really getting to know Guatemala means that you should immerse yourself in important aspects of life in the country so that you’ll get an idea of who Guatemalans are and how they live. One is the fascinating world of Guatemalan cuisine, and as you’ll discover during your visit, there is a small favorite that you can find at any time of day and combined in countless ways: the humble bean.
The common bean that you’ll see in Guatemala has the formal name Phaseolus Vulgaris and is a major source of vegetable protein for Guatemalans. Most of the beans consumed in the country come from the north (specifically the department of Petén) and the southeast (from the departments of Jutiapa, Chiquimula, and Santa Rosa), although some are grown in other areas of the country.
In addition to their high nutritional content, beans – whose role in people’s culinary lives has been recognized for more than 5,000 years – are surely one of the foods that Guatemalans like best and prepare a lot of. Refried, whole, blended smooth, with rice, with tortillas, with bread, white, black, pinto, and in other colors like yellow and red, beans are a culinary treasure.
If you thought it was very easy to grow and harvest beans, you should know that – depending on the kind and variety of the species – it can take from 100 to 140 days for the beans to be ready to harvest. Although beans are a sturdy crop and they’re quite hard when raw, a successful harvest depends both on the climate and ideal weather during the planting period (which is actually quite short: only during the months of March and April and then again from June to July).