Oaxacan Shelling Beans
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Oaxacan bean pods when fresh are vibrant green with a long, plump shape. Inside the pod the beans are large, purple or white, and kidney shaped. Once cooked the beans boast a meaty texture with a rich and creamy flavor. The broth produced from cooking the beans is thin and flavorful, some say reminiscent of bullion. Like many shell beans Oaxacan beans will turn a dull tan color once cooked. In addition to the beans the flowers of the Oaxacan bean vine are edible as well.
Fresh Oaxacan shelling beans are available in the late summer through the early winter months.
Oaxacan beans are a type of runner bean and botanically classified as part of Phaseolus coccineus. Also known as Ayocote Morado or Purple Runners in the United States they and most other runner type beans are often referred to as scarlet runners, a nod to the color of the beans and blooms on the scarlet runner plant. The Oaxacan beans are rarely seen on restaurant menus since runner type beans tend to take longer to cook than most beans, limiting their popularity to home chefs.
Oaxacan beans are high in protein and additionally contain potassium, iron, fiber, zinc, thiamin, magnesium and calcium.
Oaxacan beans can be utilized both in their freshly shelled form or as a dried bean. In both stages mature beans should be cooked first before consuming. When immature Oaxacan beans can be eaten as a fresh snap bean, though they are most commonly eaten at their mature stage. When dried beans can be pre-soaked for at least six hours prior to cooking, a step which will make the beans easier to digest. Oaxacan beans can be sautéed, simmered, roasted and baked. The beans can be cooked till they are starchy, similar to that of a potato or beyond that point till they develop a creamy, melting texture. Cooked beans can be added to soups, chile sauces or even used as a component in mixed salads. Oaxacan beans pair well with garlic, onions, bacon, wild mushrooms, olive oil, oregano, epazote and lemon juice. To store keep fresh beans away from moisture and refrigerated, be sure to shell before the pods begin to mold, ideal within four to five days.
Though they have a rich history in their native Mexico beans of the ayocote family such as Oaxacan have fallen out of favor and now are only found in Mexico in certain indigenous communities.
Oaxacan beans are a variety of runner bean, one of the oldest cultivated crops from the Americas. Part of the ayocote group of beans the Oaxacan bean is native to Oaxaca and for a long time could be commonly found growing in central and northern Mexico. While in modern times popularity has diminished in Mexico it has experienced a resurgence of interest among heirloom bean enthusiasts in the United States and Europe, among both chefs and growers. The bean pods grow on long, running vines and in addition to beans are known for their edible purple and pink blooms, so much so that they are considered to be an edible ornamental by many growers. Unlike many varieties, the Oaxacan bean grows from a tuberous root which is also edible and can be prepared similarly to that of sunchokes.
Recipes that include Oaxacan Shelling Beans. One is easiest, three is harder.
|The Greek Foodie||Heirloom Bean Soup and Winter Greens|