Name That Plant! Week 4
I’ve misplaced some of the half-empty seed packets that were used this spring, so it took me a little while to retrace what this plant’s called. But it has definitely been the question of the hour at the brewery, since their stalks are so productive that I’ve been handing out one of these incredibly long, purplish-pink, somewhat string bean-looking objects to everyone and anyone who comes by on any given day.
It seems that I bought only the strangest beans among the seed catalogs and called it a day. I don’t miss normal green beans one bit with these heirloom gems hanging from the stalks. That’s a great thing about being a home gardener rather than commercial one — you don’t have to feel tied to your customers’ expectations, and grow whatever you want so long as that their seeds still exist. I like it when people don’t know what a vegetable is called nor has ever seen or tried it before but chomps it up anyway. These beans are a real test of that attitude.
These beans, which are certainly long and do have “long” in their three-word name, taste sweet and crisp when young. When they’re fully mature — about two feet long yet still the same width as a regular string bean — they begin to taste even more sweet and a little bit starchy, and the pebble-like beans inside the pods are much more pronounced. You could shell them and just eat the small beans, like favas. I threw some on the grill at a 4th of July barbecue yesterday and they tasted great a tiny bit charred, too!
Now I have a hankering to try out pickling them, like I did with the Sultan’s Golden bean a couple weeks ago (which turned out quite tasty according to its winner). So the first person to correctly name this plant in a comment below will receive a jar of home-pickled X beans — those above!