Have you ever heard of rattlesnake beans? I stumbled upon these delightful beans last summer while exploring new additions to my garden. What intrigued me the most about them was their versatility – young beans can be enjoyed like green beans, while mature ones can be dried for later use. If you’re looking for a unique bean to grow, rattlesnake beans are a perfect choice.
Growing Rattlesnake Beans
Growing rattlesnake beans is a breeze, even for beginners. I ordered my seeds from Territorial Seed Company and planted them in early May. These vine beans require support, so I provided them with a sturdy fence. And boy, did they grow! The purple striping that adorns the green pods of these beans makes for a stunning sight. When harvested young, rattlesnake beans are tender and delicious. You can steam, roast, or add them to soups and other dishes.
The Beans That Add a Pop of Color to Your Pantry
In Zone 5, where I live, growing rattlesnake beans was a breeze. I planted the seeds against a garden fence enriched with compost and manure. These beans are rapid growers, and occasionally, I had to guide the vines along the fence to provide them with the support they needed. I harvested them as green beans until late July or early August, allowing the rest to mature and dry on the vine. Once fully dry, I shelled them and stored them in a container in my pantry. Their distinctive markings gave my pantry a vibrant touch.
A Hearty Soup for Chilly Days
Now, let’s fast forward to the middle of a cold Midwestern winter. What could be better than a warm, comforting bowl of dried rattlesnake bean and vegetable soup? This recipe is perfect for using up leftover veggies in your fridge. Feel free to get creative and add your favorite vegetables. Don’t worry if you don’t have dried rattlesnake beans; you can easily substitute them with any other type of bean. Even if you’re not a fan of beans, this vegetable-packed soup is a winner.
Dried Rattlesnake Bean and Vegetable Soup Recipe
- 1 cup of dried rattlesnake beans
- 1 cup of small pasta, such as ditalini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 large white onion, diced
- 8-10 baby carrots, sliced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 5 small sweet peppers, diced
- 4-5 medium-size turnip greens, tough stem removed and chopped
- 1 cup small spinach leaves, torn or chopped
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- 15 asparagus spears, tough ends removed and sliced
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup bean broth
- 1 2-inch piece of Parmesan rind (optional)
In a medium saucepan, add the dried rattlesnake beans and cover with water. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, then cover and remove from heat. Let them sit, covered, for 1 hour. Meanwhile, cook the pasta, prep the veggies, and start the soup.
In another medium saucepan, cook the ditalini or other small pasta for 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside until ready to use.
In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, onions, and carrots. Cook until they start to sweat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
Add the remaining vegetables and continue cooking until they begin to wilt and soften, about 7 more minutes. Season with optional red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Stir well.
Add the vegetable broth, water, bean broth, and Parmesan rind (if using).
Add the rattlesnake beans. The pasta will be added later. Bring the soup to a boil, partially cover, and reduce heat to a simmer.
Simmer for one hour or until the beans are tender. Add the cooked pasta and return to a simmer. Remove from heat and serve.
A Hearty Soup Worth Savoring
With a bowl of this delightful soup in hand, take a moment to marvel at the flavors of the rattlesnake beans. They boast a meaty, hearty flavor while remaining tender. I have fallen in love with these beans and have already added them to my list of must-grow vegetables for my garden.
Cheers to the soup season, and here’s hoping for an early spring!