Bean

Phaseolus vulgaris - L.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed; Seedpod.

Edible Uses: Coffee.

Immature seedpods - raw or cooked. The green pods are commonly used as a vegetable, they have a mild flavour and should only be cooked for a short time. When growing the plant for its seedpods, be sure to pick them whilst they are still small and tender. This will ensure the continued production of more pods by the plant. Flowering is reduced once the seeds begin to form inside the pods. The immature seeds are boiled or steamed and used as a vegetable. The mature seeds are dried and stored for future use. They must be thoroughly cooked before being eaten and are best soaked in water for about 12 hours prior to this. They can be boiled, baked, pureed, ground into a powder or fermented into 'tempeh' etc. The powdered seed makes a protein-enriching additive to flour, it can also be used in soups etc. The seed can also be sprouted and used in salads or cooked. The roasted seeds have been used as a coffee substitute. Young leaves - raw or cooked as a potherb. The very young laves are sometimes eaten as a salad, the older leaves are cooked.

Medicinal Uses

Cancer; Diuretic; Homeopathy; Hypoglycaemic; Hypotensive; Narcotic.

The green pods are mildly diuretic and contain a substance that reduces the blood sugar level. The dried mature pod is used according to another report. It is used in the treatment of diabetes. The seed is diuretic, hypoglycaemic and hypotensive. Ground into a flour, it is used externally in the treatment of ulcers. The seed is also used in the treatment of cancer of the blood. When bruised and boiled with garlic they have cured intractable coughs. The root is dangerously narcotic. A homeopathic remedy is made from the entire fresh herb. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism and arthritis, plus disorders of the urinary tract.

Other Uses

Biomass; Dye; Fungicide; Miscellany.

A brown dye is obtained from red kidney beans. The plant contains phaseolin, which has fungicidal activity. Water from the cooked beans is very effective in reviving woollen fabrics. The plant residue remaining after harvesting the dried beans is a source of biomass.

Cultivation details

Requires a warm sunny position in a rich well-drained preferably light soil with plenty of moisture in the growing season. Dislikes heavy, wet or acid soils. It is often grown to provide a major part of the protein requirement. Beans grow well with strawberries, carrots, cauliflowers, cucumbers, cabbage, beet, leek and celeriac. They are inhibited by alliums and fennel growing nearby. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to only remove the aerial parts of the plant, leaving the roots in the ground to decay and release their nitrogen.

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