While looking up the nutritional information for what I knew by the name of Yard Long Bean or Snake bean, I was amazed to learn of numerous other names these long snaky stems go by, namely bora, bodi, long-podded cowpea, asparagus bean, pea bean, snake bean, or Chinese long bean. Now mind you, it is not nearly as long as a yard as the name implies. Rather, it would stand half a yard long if it could stand. Also surprising was that it is in fact a legume and not a vegetable as I had automatically assumed due to its physical similarity to green beans. Though acting as a legume, it is widely cooked like some vegetables. I enjoy cutting them up and stir frying with eggs or with fish paste/cake as seen below. They are also great cooking up with kabocha squash stew and even in soups and salads.
But wait, it doesn’t seize to impress there. The nutrition benefits are greater than it’s usage and even more than the number of names! These long vegetable looking beans are packed with protein, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and manganese. I’m even more excited and convinced after typing all that out. So much that I think I’ll be attempting to grow these lovelies this soon! And it’s said that pods will form just 60 days after sowing! If you decide to grow these, be sure and pick them before they reach full maturity for more crispy texture. A tip I’ll keep in mind is not to pick off the buds as more beans will sprout from that the same stem! Once producing, we can expect to harvest daily until winter hits. That’s a lot of yard long beans to enjoy :).
Some interesting findings that may be of interest is:
– Ants and yellow jackets are attracted to this legume.
– It’s subtropical/tropical and most widely grown in the warmer parts of South and Southeast Asia as well as southern China. (Lucky us, we have it available here in the states).