Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cooking Purple Hyacinth Beans

Though my family has enjoyed the bountiful harvest of Purple Hyacinth Beans I have stir-fried, they really prefer the English beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) such as “Blue Lake” that you buy fresh, frozen, or canned from the store. The cooking method to make the Purple Hyacinth Bean (Lablab purpureus) taste like an English-type bean is the same as the method I use for Chinese Long Beans, though the Hyacinth beans must be cooked for a shorter amount of time. In short, I blanch them.

Purple Hyacinth Beans Ready to Cook

Blanching requires bringing a pot of water to a rolling boil and making the water very briny with a generous amount of salt (at least ¼ cup of salt per 2 quarts of water).  

Add plenty of salt to the boiling water

Once you have the beans ready and the water boiling, set the timer for 3 minutes and dump in the beans.

Stir the beans after 2 minutes just to make sure both sides of all beans are blanched.

Beans should turn a green color, as shown below.

Most - but not all - beans will turn some shade of green

Finally out the beans using a colander and serve with butter or eat plain.

Not so purple Hyacinth Beans ready to eat

While some people may scoff at the idea of losing so many minerals in the water or having to prepare so much to blanch the beans, I feel blanching the beans is time well spent to have my children enjoy eating their veggies.