Dried beans may look drab in the sack, but with a little attention they cook up bursting with color, fragrance, flavor and nutrition.
Island Grown Schools is featuring dried beans as January's Harvest of the Month, and there's a Patch connection, too: Patch editor Louisa Hufstader formerly worked with Rancho Gordo's Steve Sando, who with the support of chefs like Thomas Keller has almost single-handedly brought heirloom beans to the forefront of gourmet cooking in the 21st century.
Check out his lively website and blog at ranchogordo.com to see dozens of old-fashioned varieties of beans with names like Jacob's Cattle, Good Mother Stallard and Snowcap.
What's your favorite thing to do with dried beans? Tell us in the comments.