Hyacinth Beans, Ever Eaten Em?

ARUM(7)January 10, 2007

I have grown these for many years, and have heared stories, weird stories, like one guy tried to eat them, and had to run out of the house because the smell was so bad. What do you think? Any stories? :) Arum

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jimster(z7a MA)

Pretty, aren't they? I haven't grown them. Since you have, how about cooking some up and letting us know how they taste?

Jim

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 9:17PM
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ARUM(7)

Well Jimster boy, I don't think I'll except that invitation. I get nervous when I hear all those rumors. :)

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 9:22PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Nah. Don't buy those rumors. Cook just a little bit and try it. Let us know. Somebody has to. Think how brave the first guy to eat an oyster was.

Jim

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 9:39PM
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ARUM(7)

How bout I send you a bag of em? You bein so curious and all. :)

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 10:02PM
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solanum1

They are quite edible but must be picked when immature; otherwise the pods get very stringy and hard. They can be briefly blanched and used like green beans or stir-fried, also shortly.
But there are better-tasting things in the world...
Rose-Marie

    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 3:52PM
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chaman(z7MD)

If anybody wants to try, do it so by boiling them.Some of the vegetables contain minute traces of chemicals that may be harmful.Oxalate is a good example which can be removed by boiling.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2007 at 11:28AM
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nancedar(z7NC)

I grew them because of the flower color - ate them because they were FOOD. Rinsed, drained, cooked for a couple minutes, rinsed, drained, cooked for a couple minutes, rinsed, drained, cooked a lot more - ate them. OK, no real flavor, just "food".

Didn't die.

Found green beans much better tasting. Grow the Lab-lab because of the color - not hungry anymore since I found that green beans have less color but more nutrition and they are not as scary.

Nancy the nancedar

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 9:29PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

I concur with Solanum & Nancedar; while hyacinth beans are edible, edible is not necessarily tasty.

The beans must be picked young; they will be flattened, and look somewhat like snowpeas. A purple variety that I tried was a little fatter than the green-podded. As Chamen mentioned, hyacinth bean is another of those semi-toxic tropical legumes; boiling destroys or removes most of the toxins.

If you are tempted to use the mature beans, exercise caution, and do some research.

I found the flavor & texture of the purple variety to be very similar to snap beans, but nothing remarkable. The green-podded variety was nearly tasteless. They require a very long season to produce (they may be daylength-sensitive) and the rampant vines require a substantial trellis.

If you live in a moderate climate, the tastier & higher-yielding snap beans would be a better choice. However, if you live in a hot climate where snap beans struggle in the summer heat, hyacinth beans (along with yardlong beans) could be a good alternative.

The flowers are very attractive & quite fragrant (hence their name), so this could also be a good edible arbor cover.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 11:30PM
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ARUM(7)

Thanks for all the comments. :) Actually, I didn't think they would be that good even if you could eat em. Still, you know how curious we can get. Like for instance, I wonder what coffee taste like make from Dandelion roots. :) Arum

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 7:44AM
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vgautam(z5NY)

Hyacinth beans are a very important winter vegetable in many parts of India,especially the eastern region comprising Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, eastern Uttar Pradesh, as well as in Bangladesh. We are talking of half a billion humans here!

Note well though, although the nomenclature refers to Lablab purpureus (L.)Sweet., the types most favored for fresh vegetables are broad, flat,about 4-9 inches long[curved], dark green. The finest types are creamy green, almost white. Just like snow peas, they are picked when the seeds are barely developed, and are very tender and delicious.

These vegetable types of eastern India are massively vining and require elaborate bamboo trellises. As mentioned above, they are also daylength sensitive.

There is another group popular in western india for their seeds used as hulled legumes.

200 genotypes are recognized. On the basis of our limited acquaintance with the Single type distributed as an ornamental in our gardens, we should reserve our judgement!

I, for one, crave the fresh hyacinth bean. Frozen food vendors do a roaring business seling memories to expatriates all over the globe, but to me frozen vegetables, peas included, taste like death frozen over. Sorry to be ungrateful, they are good, nutritious food, but they do not taste like the real thing[maybe corn does, to some degree].

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 9:59PM
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vgautam(z5NY)

Hyacinth beans are a very important winter vegetable in many parts of India,especially the eastern region comprising Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, eastern Uttar Pradesh, as well as in Bangladesh. We are talking of half a billion humans here!

Note well though, although the nomenclature refers to Lablab purpureus (L.)Sweet., the types most favored for fresh vegetables are broad, flat,about 4-9 inches long[curved], dark green. The finest types are creamy green, almost white. Just like snow peas, they are picked when the seeds are barely developed, and are very tender and delicious.

These vegetable types of eastern India are massively vining and require elaborate bamboo trellises. As mentioned above, they are also daylength sensitive.

There is another group popular in western india for their seeds used as hulled legumes.

200 genotypes are recognized. On the basis of our limited acquaintance with the Single type distributed as an ornamental in our gardens, we should reserve our judgement!

I, for one, crave the fresh hyacinth bean. Frozen food vendors do a roaring business seling memories to expatriates all over the globe, but to me frozen vegetables, peas included, taste like death frozen over. Sorry to be ungrateful, they are good, nutritious food, but they do not taste like the real thing[maybe corn does, to some degree].

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 10:05PM
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vegetarian(6 , NJ)

Yes. I have eaten Hyacinth beans and tender pods. They are delicious when cooked with a onions and a little coconut. BTW, I am not sure if I've had the purple podded variety, but its the green and the white ones that are commonly used in my family.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 11:03AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

The link below is for a recipe which uses dried hyacinth beans. It has a lot of detail and background information and is beautifully illustrated with photographs. I think it provides a lot of information on this topic.

Jim

Here is a link that might be useful: Hyacinth Bean and Snake Gourd Recipe

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 2:18PM
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ARUM(7)

Jim, this is interesting. The Hyacinth Bean you speak of here is not the Ruby Moon, but a strange white variety, and the same one I received in a trade. It never flowered for me, but was an extremely vigorous grower. Thanks for the post. :) Arum

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 7:16AM
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