Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Are Hyacinth Beans Edible?

Since I didn't have much growing in the garden this year, I put a few Hyacinth Bean seeds in the ground just to see how they'd do.  I grew the vine at our last house and I loved it because it was always so lush and beautiful.  But, since we've moved out here, I've tried to get it to grow on a trellis and the fence, but it hasn't done well.

It really took off in the garden plot and is producing beautiful, shiny, purple pods like crazy.  I've always wondered if they were edible, but was afraid to try them because I thought they might turn my mouth purple, or worse, kill me.

So, I did some searching on the internet and was assured that if you eat the fresh pods, they are perfectly harmless, although, eating the dried bean is a different story.  When the beans are mature and the pod dries up, the bean contains a toxin.  They can still be eaten, but they have to be cooked twice, changing the water in between cooking so that the toxin can be released, boiled, and poured away.

I finally got up the nerve to try them, and, ugh.  NOT GOOD!

They are this nice beautiful purple color when they start out.  I thought they'd look so pretty on the plate with my baked salmon and herbed rice.  But, when I steamed them, they lost their color and turned into an icky greenish-grey color.

I was determined to answer the question for myself of whether or not they were edible, so I went ahead and served them up.

The answer is, YES, they are edible...if you mean by "edible" that "they won't kill you".  Tom and I both ate them and suffered no ill effects.  But, aside from the creepy color, they did not taste good.  I was expecting the taste and texture of a snow pea pod (which is one of my favorite veggies), but it was nothing like that.  Only the smallest, flattest ones were tender.  The taste wasn't putrid, but it wasn't good.  The texture was the worst, although Tom didn't notice it.  But, I'm more of a food texture person than he is.  Anyway, they had a fuzzy texture.  Almost like a peach fuzz texture, except not in a good peachy way.

So, yeah, you can eat Hyacinth Beans....if you're starving.

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