Add Variety and Fun from Garden to Table with 'Yard-Long' Beans

| 9/24/2016 1:53:00 PM

Tags: bean recipes, beans, green beans, vegetable varieties, Asian cuisine, world cooking, Vermont, Carrie Williams Howe,


Each year, after envisioning a layout for our garden, we make a list of the seeds we need to buy at our local garden store. We browse the racks staring at beautiful pictures of bountiful produce and inevitably add to our list with a handful of impulse buys.

One of our traditions is looking for something new and unusual that we haven’t grown before. Okra, Red Kuri squash, and Romanesco cauliflower have all shown up in our garden as a result. This year, my husband went for the fun factor and picked up a package of “yard-long” beans.

What are Yard-Long Beans?

The yard-long bean is also known as a Chinese or Asian longbean and can often be found in Asian grocery stores. The variety we grew was 'Orient Wonder' by Botanical Interests, but you’ll find varieties of this bean available from a number of seed companies. While it can grow close to 30 inches long, which was very exciting for our 6-year-old to imagine, it is actually more pleasing if picked between around 12 inches, while the skin is still smooth and the seeds have not begun to thicken. Rest assured: A foot-long bean is still pretty fun to pick and prepare!

The plant itself is also quite lovely in your garden, growing up a trellis or bean tower like any other climbing pole bean. It can reach 9-12 feet in height, so be prepared to give it the space it needs to reach its full potential (for additional technical information, consult this guide from the USDA).

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