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The pinto bean is a variety of common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). It is the most common bean in the United States and northwestern Mexico, and is most often eaten whole in broth or mashed and refried. Either whole or mashed, it is a common filling for burritos. The young pods may also be harvested and cooked as green pinto beans.
In Spanish, they are called frijol pinto, literally "speckled bean", and in South America it is known as the poroto frutilla, literally "strawberry bean". In Portuguese, they are called feijão carioca in Brazil (literally "carioca bean") and feijão catarino in Portugal. It is named for its mottled skin (compare pinto horse), hence it is a type of mottled bean.
This is the bean most commonly used for refried beans (fresh or canned) and in many dishes. Rice and pinto beans served with cornbread or corn tortillas are often a staple meal where meat is unavailable; the amino acids in this combination make it a complete protein source. This variety is often used in chili con carne, although the kidney beans, black beans, and many others may also be used in other locales (see below).
Pinto beans are commonly eaten beans in Brazilian cuisine (legumes, mainly common bean, are a staple food everywhere in the country, cultivated since 3000 BCE, along with starch-rich foods, such as rice, manioc, pasta, and other wheat-based products, polenta and other corn-based products, potatoes and yams).
In the Southern United States, pinto beans were once a staple of the people, especially during the winter months. Some churches in rural areas still sponsor "pinto bean suppers" for social gatherings and fund raisers.
The alubia pinta alavesa, or the "Alavese pinto bean", a red variety of the pinto bean, originated in Añana, a town and municipality located in the province of Álava, in the Basque Country of northern Spain. In October, the Feria de la alubia pinta alavesa (Alavese pinto bean fair) is celebrated in Pobes.
Pinto bean varieties include: