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Is there an alternate name for "Great Northern Beans"? Or a good substitute?

Because she couldn't find them anywhere, a friend asked a question here a few hours ago -- asking where to buy Great Northern Beans. But as she wants to buy them today -- in NYC -- so I think she asked the wrong question.

So maybe the right question to ask is "is there another name for Great Northern Beans"? Or possibly, "what are the characteristics of Great Northern Beans and what would make a good substitute in a recipe?"

While Peter no longer works for Food52 he still thinks up ways to make the website better.

asked almost 8 years ago

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11 answers 232732 views
TiggyBee
added almost 8 years ago

She could try navy beans or cannellini. I imagine the bulk bins at Whole Foods would have them

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TiggyBee

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Cara Eisenpress
added almost 8 years ago

Yeah, I think any white bean will do.

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Kayb
added almost 8 years ago

Navy beans are a bit smaller, cannelini a bit larger, but I can't make a big difference in the taste. I tend to prefer navies, myself. But I can't imagine not being able to find Great Northern -- I can usually get them even if a store doesn't carry navies or cannelini

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Mr_Vittles
added almost 8 years ago

Navy beans and Cannelini will do in a pinch, but I know a lot of people who will only use Great Northerns because they swear they make a difference in their version of baked beans. Personally, I use whatever is most convenient, my local Winco sells them in bulk bins.

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susan g
added almost 8 years ago

Another alternative is baby limas.

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mainecook61
added almost 8 years ago

Navy beans or yellow eye beans.

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Janjones
added about 4 years ago

Are these what we English call butter beans? I.e. Bigger than cannellini/haricot beans ?

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jic
jic
added 12 months ago

No, butter beans are a type of lima beans. I don't think great northern beans are widely available in England.

cv
cv
added 12 months ago

Butter beans, cannellini beans, haricot beans, lima beans and Great Northern beans are all cultivars of the same species Phaseolus vulgaris which also includes other common beans such as red kidney beans and black turtle beans.

Horticulturist Oscar Will allegedly received the Great Northern beans from a Hidatsa Indian in the late 19th century. Will was instrumental in preserving some of the heritage cultivars.

https://www.camelliabrand...
https://www.mypatriotsupply...
http://ndstudies.gov/gr8...

Unless you buy seed packets from the USA, it is unlikely that one would find Great Northern bean cultivar in the UK. The cultivar is commonly planted in the Great Plains states in the USA, but less commonly elsewhere.

Any white bean is likely a good candidate for replacing the Great Northern bean.

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jic
jic
added 12 months ago

Butter beans and lima beans are Phaseolus lunatus, not Phaseolus vulgaris.