about Yardlong Beans

donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)August 2, 2011

I have been reading your posts (very informative!) and have some questions about Yardlong beans. In one thread it was stated that they are members of the cowpea family. I see that they are normally eaten like snap beans, but do they make peas too? Are the peas good to eat or strictly for seed?

Also, one thread said that these plants attract ants and wasps. Do they attract fire ants? I can put up with alot of things, but not fire ants.....

My plan is to use them as my first planting of snap beans next year in the hope that they will produce through the hottest days of summer. And then replace them with a traditional pole bean for fall. Does this sound like a good plan?

I have been checking seed selling sites and see that there is a variety of types. The red ones caught my attention simply because I like colorful veggies. But really, my top priority would be productivity and flavor. Any recommendations?

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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

"I see that they are normally eaten like snap beans, but do they make peas too? Are the peas good to eat or strictly for seed? "

You can eat them like peas; but IMO, the quality is generally inferior. They are hard to shell, and often have clinging membranes that are difficult to remove.

"I have been checking seed selling sites and see that there is a variety of types. The red ones caught my attention simply because I like colorful veggies. But really, my top priority would be productivity and flavor. Any recommendations?"

"Chinese Red Noodle" has great color, good texture, and is one of the better flavored. It also seems to require more heat than some of the black-seeded cultivars (CRN is brown seeded). The black-seeded varieties, though, seem to be more productive here in the North... don't know if that would be the case in the deep South.

"My plan is to use them as my first planting of snap beans next year in the hope that they will produce through the hottest days of summer. And then replace them with a traditional pole bean for fall. Does this sound like a good plan?"

That might be a good plan. I would also recommend trying Winged Bean and Hyacinth Bean, which are offered by Baker Creek & Kitazawa, among others. Both should thrive in your climate.

Hyacinth Bean has beautiful, fragrant blossoms, and the very young pods (the edible stage) resemble snow peas. Purple podded varieties, IMO, are the most flavorful... the ones I grew tasted very much like "green beans". The mature seeds, however, are considered to be toxic.

Toxicity is not an issue with Winged Bean... it has not only edible pods, but edible flowers, nutritious leaves that are good as greens, and possibly edible tubers (if you can get them). I've never tried the tubers, no chance of getting them in my short summers.

Hopefully someone will chime in regarding the fire ants, since I've never had to deal with them.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 1:41PM
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macmex

I raised them in Mexico, where we had fire ants. The ants didn't seem particularly attracted to them. Fire ants seem to cut up and carry foliage away rather than look for nectar, which is what cowpeas produce.

George
Tablequah, OK

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 3:07PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

" In one thread it was stated that they are members of the cowpea family."

Yes, yard longs and cowpeas are both members of the genus vigna, which contains numerous other legume species. That doesn't necessarily mean their culinary treatment is the same however.

Jim

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 5:12PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Donna

There are two kinds of people, those who love yardlong beans and those who hate them! lol. If cooked right, I like them. They are very productive in my garden and I find that they don't get bother by bugs to harm the plant. If planted in a new bed they do great but otherwise nematodes will attack them.
Since they are not well know they are difficult to give away, evryone asked what is that? the mistake would be to think they taste like pole beans, they don't. Their flavor and cooking are very different.
I have tried different varieties, one of my favorites are the red noodle.

Here it is growing in the garden right now, I start them in containers in the raised bed to protect them from nematodes, it works for me, and I get a daily picking like like the ones in the picture.

Cooked with oriental seasonings

For the heat of the summer I do prefer butterbeans, they produce well and has more fans, so it is easy for me to give them away or just freeze them for future use.

Silvia

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 7:33AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Thanks to all of you. This is very helpful. I would love for you to tell me what they DO taste like Silvia, but I suppose the only real way to know is to try them, which I will for sure, next year. I'm glad you all had good things to say about the red ones. They will likely be my first experiment. I assume I will be able to find cooking suggestions for them when I need them...

Dennis, I have grown Purple Hyacinth Beans for years for flowers. I had no idea they are edible. At what point do the pods cease to be edible and become toxic? I was late sowing them this year and they should be blooming soon. Do you cook them like any other snap bean?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 5:38PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

I suggest using a Chinese recipe when you try yard long beans. They are a standard ingredient in Chinese cooking. You will see them in Chinese markets. You may see them on a Chinese restaurant menu, where you could sample them prepared in authentic Chinese style. On a menu they may be called string beans or green beans and they may or may not be yard longs.

Jim

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 7:31PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Donna

Since you asked about the flavor of the yard long beans, I thought that you may want to hear another opinions, just remember this is all for laughs, those of you who like yard long beans do not get offended!
Here is a recent discussion from the Florida forum.

Silvia

Here is a link that might be useful: yard long beans?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 1:30PM
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john_p_wi(4 / 5 SE WI)

Hi,

My wife is Chinese and cooked our long beans for dinner last night. She broke them into 3 or 4" pieces and boiled them for a few minutes in the wok, then drained. Then sauteed fresh ginger, garlic, peppers (an oriental variety that looked like a small ancho and 6 or 7 thai dragons), fermented black beans and salt. When the peppers just started to lose their crispness after a minute or two she added the drained long beans back into the wok and heated through adding cilantro and a green onion w/ the leaves and sichuan pepper oil. Finally she dressed it off with a splash of good soy sauce and rice wine on the wok tool and a little five spice powder. This is the way she cooks most things, very spicy but tasty! It is also good with thinly sliced pork marinated and wok fried and added to the beans, or for a special touch - add a little rendered bacon fat. This is true Hunan Chinese cooking, without all of the sweet stickyness that we Americans think is Chinese. Mmmm, now I'm hungry again!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 9:53AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Wow, John. And when does her cooking class start? Or better yet, dinner?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 11:34AM
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john_p_wi(4 / 5 SE WI)

Donna,

Yes, I'm a lucky guy.... The thing I have learned about Chinese cooking is that everything has to be fresh-straight from the garden.

Keeping on topic - the long beans have a different texture than pole or bush green beans - they don't squeak on your teeth the way fresh bush or pole beans do. As my wife says they have less "grass" feeling??? What ever that means?? Also they (long beans) can be larger in diameter with larger bean seeds and still not be stringy or too tough compared to the pole or bush beans. Next year I will plant a larger number of yard longs.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 11:53AM
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