SNAKE BEANS ARE THE IN GLOBAL FOOD GARDEN

Tin Hta Nu

We volunteers in Kendall Community Hall’s Global Food Garden started planting seeds and seedlings at the end of September in our newly constructed raised beds.  Now our vegetables are producing which we sell at our Thursday market.  

W

e appreciate The Kendall Hall management inviting us to be involved in raising funds for Riding for The Disabled (19th September Spring Fair) and Camden Haven Community at 3’s (5th December Christmas Fair) selling our fresh and preserved produce.  At present The Global Food Garden has herbs, carrots, zucchini, fat hen, amaranth, button squash and yard long beans growing.

Yard long beans also called snake beans originated in East and South East Asia and is most widely used in these regions.  It was known as Pear daunk shay, by the Burmese, buah cacang by the Indonesians de gok by the Chinese and pole sitao in the Philippines. In Australia, early Chinese settlers first grew them and they were mostly known as snake beans (Scientific name Vigna unguiculta). Seeds can be sown after frost from early October until January.  It is a prolific grower, given adequate water and sunshine in well-drained soil. It is also bean fly resistant.  It is best to pick when it is about 30 cm long and seeds still small.  We need to pick regularly to encourage fruiting. If not, the birds can easily peck the mature beans seeds which are bigger than the picking size. Also when old, the yellowed skin is thin and papery. A trellis is needed for the plant to climb which also gives shade to other smaller plant seedlings.   Snake beans are an annual crop and as it is a legume, it contributes nitrogen to the soil. If the soil is rich with humus, self -sown seedlings pop up next year. 

Plant leafy greens after snake beans in a 4 year crop rotation.  Some type of snake beans have black seeds and some have brown or red seeds.  I found the red seeds take less time to cook.  One snake bean variety has red skin but is not as tender as the green variety.  For preserving, snake beans can also be preserved by fermentation with other summer vegetables or freeze the steamed beans.  It does not taste well frozen fresh. I still have frozen steamed snake beans from last year.   

Healthy

Snake beans have health benefits as they are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and magnesium according to Western health research.  The Eastern Ayuvedic knowledge advises to consume some sweet flavours in hot weather, sour in cold weather and bitter flavours in rainy weather in addition to your usual staples and savouries.  Snake beans are regarded as sweet so we should eat the sweet seasonal snake beans in summer.  I make a salad with citrus such as lemonade or orange in cold weather and made curry with bitter melon during rainy days.  

Snake beans are used in western and Middle East cuisines. In Asian cuisines, snake beans are used in soups, stir fries, curries, salads (raw or cooked).   Here is my favourite snake bean salad suitable for hot summer days.    

Ingredients


Snake beans 200 grams chopped and steamed ( please do not steam longer than 5 minutes and after steaming, put in cold water to stop cooking)

100gms grated carrot
1 small onion sliced
75 gms Peanuts or cashew nuts (processed)
salt to taste 

Dressing


3 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon honey, 2 table spoons sesame or olive oil, ½ vegetable stock powder cube.

Put the snake beans, carrots, onion, and processed nuts in a bowl. Mix the dressing ingredients and taste. Add a small amount chilli if you like. Pour the dressing on the ingredients in the bowl and mix. Garnish with fried onions, sesame seeds and small button squash or a diced hardboiled egg. 

Can serve four as a side dish. 

If there are leftovers will keep in fridge for 3 days.  

We volunteers of Global Food Garden thank everyone for their support and wish you healthy, safe, happy and prosperous 2021. 

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