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Friday, July 9, 2010


As you may know, part of our garden this year is a "Jacob Garden" where Jake is growing some of his favorites--mint, beans, broccoli, some flowers that he started at school, a cactus that he got from somewhere (I forget where).  Things are doing well, except the beans, which were climbing like crazy up the bunch of sticks that we set up for them.  But there weren't any beans on them...or so we thought.

Last night I was watering and noticed something hanging on the plant--sort of hidden in the leaves.  Then I realized what they were--beans.  But not just regular old green beans.  These were Chinese long beans (also known as yard-long beans, asparagus beans and snake beans among other things).  We had no idea that was the kind of beans we bought.  I had seen them used before, but never saw them "in person". 

As you can see from the pictures, they're really long (thus the name).  That's a regular sized yellow wax bean in the picture below for comparison.  They're used in much the same way that a green bean is used.  They're from Asia, so they're often used in stir-fry or fried slowly as a side dish.  They're also sometimes eaten raw.

They are incredibly nutritious, too.  According to the USDA, they are a good source of protein, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, and potassium, and a very good source for vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and manganese.  In fact, one serving gives you 31% of your recommended daily amount of vitamin C.  Pretty amazing.

Supposedly, they are vigorous climbers (which we have seen) and should be harvested daily because the beans grow so quickly.  Hmmm...I wonder what long bean/squash recipes I can come up with!

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