I sowed a variety of bean seeds and this one thrives and is now flowering. Wonder what kind of beans will emerge.
My friend Jeremy K said “If the thing keeps growing, wait for Jack and look out for the giant.” which is from a fairy tale Jack and The Beanstalk.
Turns out to be no giant but this, winged beans or four- angled beans (翼豆）.
Winged beans seem to be a “must grow” for any survival garden. They act as a nitrogen fixers and be grown as companion plants. Winged beans can also be grown along the ground as a cover crop to protect the soil and crowd out weeds.
The mature pods can grow up to 20cm long, though they taste better when picked small, no more than 12cm long. When the pods become too ripe, they get stringy and tough, but the flip side is that the seeds inside can be eaten just like your regular garden variety shelling peas.
The tender shoots and white or pale blue flowers can be eaten raw, and add a lot of pizzazz to summer salads.
It’s a common food in Malaysia called Kacang Botol. We eat it raw in a salad or stirfry with chilli paste.