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"How'come so many dry beans?"

Eleanor H.

Aahhh the humble dry bean... I am often asked why I don't have many bean varieties for fresh eating. It's really quite straightforward. The primary focus of our gardening is on staple crops to improve our food security, those dependable, nutrient rich varieties that store well for sustenance later in the year. A while back I came across an informative article on the benefits of the Haudenosaunee Three Sisters cropping system which provides a great answer to the “How'come you have so many dry beans?” question:

“Green beans contain very little energy or protein, but when harvested as mature dry beans, they become protein and energy powerhouses, with more than 100 times the energy and eight times the protein. When people eat green beans, they consume the pod, composed primarily of water and cellulose; the enclosed seeds are so small that they provide little nutrition. However, when the beans are fully mature and eaten as dried beans, the dried pod is discarded and only the mature seed is consumed with its rich store of energy and protein.”

So in nut shell (bean pod?) this is why I don't focus on green beans for fresh eating or canning. Be assured though several of our varieties are quite tasty in the green stage.

For more information and inspiration, please see Dr. Jane Mt. Pleasant's Food Yield and Nutrient Analyses of the Three Sisters: A Haudenosaunee Cropping System.

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