For vegetable lovers who enjoy green beans, asparagus beans, also known as yardlong beans or Chinese long beans, may just become your new favorite vegetable. These beans are not only delicious but also offer unique flavors and nutritional benefits. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into what asparagus beans are, how they look and taste, their nutritional profile, cooking tips, and even how to grow them at home.
How They Look and Taste
Asparagus beans, also known as yardlong beans, can grow up to an impressive foot and a half in length. While not literally a yard long, their impressive length gives them their name. These attractive green beans are about a centimeter thick and have a crisp, nutty flavor. Whether eaten raw or cooked, asparagus beans provide a delightful taste experience.
Asparagus beans, like other green beans, are not only delicious but also highly nutritious. With just 47 calories per serving (100 grams), they offer a range of macronutrients and micronutrients.
Surprisingly, asparagus beans contain a good amount of protein, unlike many other vegetables. With 2.8 – 3 grams of protein per serving, about a quarter of their caloric content comes from protein. They are also a great source of complex carbohydrates, with approximately 8 grams per serving. Additionally, they are low in fat, containing no more than 0.4 grams.
Asparagus beans are packed with vitamins and minerals. A single serving contains nearly a third of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, as well as significant amounts of vitamin A and folate. They are also rich in potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Ways to Use Asparagus Beans in the Kitchen
Asparagus beans are not only a delicious vegetable but also versatile in the kitchen. Here are some ideas for incorporating them into your meals, snacks, and kid-friendly recipes.
In many Asian recipes, such as Pinakbet Tagalog, a Filipino stew loaded with vegetables, asparagus beans are frequently used. For a vegetarian version, tofu can easily be substituted for pork belly. Another delightful recipe is Chinese long beans with shrimp paste, which can be enjoyed on its own or over rice.
Asparagus beans shine not only in Asian-style entrees but also in various snacks and side dishes. Glazed Chinese long beans are a quick, easy, and delicious snack option. Another great snack choice is Chinese long bean salad, which can be easily adjusted to suit your taste preferences.
Kid-Friendly Cooking Ideas
For a healthier alternative to regular chips, try making green bean chips using a dehydrator. Using yardlong beans will give them a unique crispiness. Additionally, asparagus beans can be substituted for green beans in green bean mac-n-cheese, adding a nutty flavor and increasing the protein content of the dish.
Growing Asparagus Beans at Home
If you’re interested in growing your own asparagus beans at home, here are some tips to get you started:
When to Plant
Asparagus beans mature relatively quickly, usually within 75-95 days. However, it’s crucial to choose the right time for planting. These beans do not tolerate cold weather well, especially as seedlings. For optimal results, plant them in late May or early June.
Where to Plant
Although asparagus beans may look similar to other beans in their early stages, they are actually pole beans that grow rapidly. They will need a sturdy support system, such as rebar poles or a trellis, to climb as they develop. Choose a location that receives ample sunlight and has nutrient-rich, well-drained soil.
How to Grow
Before planting, soak the beans for a few hours or overnight. Plant them at a depth of 1-2 inches, ensuring the little white “eye” of the bean is facing downwards. Leave approximately 3 inches of space between each bean. Asparagus beans grow rapidly and vertically, so provide them with support as they climb. Harvest the beans when they reach 10-12 inches in length to maintain their texture and taste.
Pest and Disease Prevention
While beans generally have good resistance against pests and diseases, asparagus beans can still be susceptible to issues such as powdery mildew, root rot, aphids, and beetles. Acting early and using preventive measures is key to maintaining plant health. Neem oil and copper fungicides are effective and organic options for pest and disease prevention.
Delicious Nutritious Asparagus Beans
Whether you choose to enjoy asparagus beans in a meal, as a snack, or in kid-friendly recipes, their flavor and versatility are sure to impress. Not only do they offer a range of nutrients, but they also provide a unique taste experience. For more content like this, check out Ekilove for numerous articles that will answer all your questions about beans.
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