Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gardening and Cooking with Noodle Beans

The teepee of Chinese noodle beans (or yard-long beans) has really come into harvest in the last week. I am growing this unusually long and tender pole bean for the first time this season and am very pleased. After a slow start with our cool spring, the noodle beans have covered the wooden frame that Dan made for our vine crops and they are a beautiful and prolific addition to our garden.

I planted purple noodle beans, but must've gotten a few green bean seeds in the mix, because they produced first and have a slightly different colored flower. I have made a couple of lovely stir-fries with the noodle beans, hacked up into manageable lengths from their impressive size, and they remain tender and stringless even when fully grown. The purple noodle beans still remain dark purple when they are stir-fried, unlike other kinds of purple string beans that revert to green when cooked, so this is interesting.

The noodle beans have a firm and springy texture, almost like licorice whips, so they stand up to long cooking times and now I am interested in seeking out some traditional Chinese recipes for braising them. Next up will probably be this recipe for Chinese Peppered Yard-Long Beans. Now to get wokking!


Gluten free Kay said...

I have tried several time to grown yard long beans with little luck. Any helpful growing hints?

Rachel said...

Hi Kay:

Hmmm. I didn't do anything out of the ordinary to coddle these beans, but I do know that they germinated very slowly in our cool spring, so I would probably wait until mid June to plant them rather than Memorial Day as I did. I also gave them a nice big trellis to climb which has made picking them easier too. We put a lot of composted grass clippings, leaves and organic compost in our soil so the soil is pretty rich. Other than that, no special treatment though. I got the seeds from Johnny's Selected Seeds in Maine and am always happy with their quality, so maybe that's the key.

Good luck growing them!