Husband and I lived in southern Indiana for a year just after our son was born while Husband finished his psychology internship. It was much warmer than Winnipeg, and we were introduced to many garden plants I had never seen before. Salsify? Who knew what it was and that you could grow it in your garden? The real surprise for me was shell out beans. Those are beans like navy beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans and all sorts of other beans that I had never seen grown in gardens and that you harvest fresh, not dried. We became hooked on them.
We didn’t grow them in our garden until the last 10 years or so due to limited space, when Husband discovered metal bean poles, and we have been growing them ever since. Growing vertically really saves space. This year we are growing Hidatsa Shield Figure Beans and Vermont Cranberry beans. The Hidatsa beans are traditional beans grown by one of the three tribes husband works for on the Rez. They are big, plumpsters that parboil and freeze well. I love them in soup and chili.
The problem with beans like this is that they are addictive. You want more and more. You can read about this phenomenon in this recent New Yorker article:
Most pole bean cultivars of this type need 95-110 days to mature after they germinate. We don’t have that long of a growing season., and we will buy dried beans that we can’t grow here. Recently, I was searching beans on line and found the source listed in the New Yorker article for dozens of exotic and long season dried beans. You could get the traditional French beans for cassoulet (Tarbais beans), flageolet beans, and every exotic South American and Caribbean bean that is currently produced. Husband had to stop me (But we have two ducks in freezer. Let’s whip up some cassoulet!) He reminded me that we didn’t have to order pounds of beans at that moment, and that perhaps we should see what our harvest will be this fall. I agreed, but I am secretly planning an order.
What have you been obsessed with? What is your favorite bean recipe?