Even though we had a lovely, warm day yesterday, we did have snow last week, and I’m afraid my garden-ish posts will soon come to an end. So today, I am featuring the hardy… the versatile… the nutritious… the tasty… ARIKARA YELLOW BUSH BEAN!
My friend, Shanon, gave me a handful of these heirloom seeds in the spring of 2011. (One seed magazine claims they are relatively hard to find.) I planted them, and harvested enough seed from those plants to fill a few beds in my garden this season. In May, when I was wondering how much room I wanted to allocate to this plant, I googled “arikara yellow bush bean” and was smitten as soon as I saw the word “hardy”. Beans tend to be so finicky when it comes to seeding and soil temperature. I think I re-planted my other bean beds two or three times; the seeds kept on rotting in the wet, cold ground before germinating. But not the Arikara. They sprouted, grew…
and produced a bountiful harvest of fresh snap beans.
While they taste quite nice as a snap bean, I think they are mostly cultivated for use as a dry soup bean.
As I dashed into the garage for something yesterday, I saw our plastic kiddy pool filled with dried bean plants balancing precariously on the table saw, and was reminded that I really must do something about them. Luckily, threshing them wasn’t as arduous a task as it could have been. After we stomped on the plants for a few minutes, all the pods cracked open and spit out their seeds.
Now, at this point you may be thinking, “Don’t these guys have anything better to do?”
I admit, it’s not like we’re saving ourselves a lot of money or achieving self-sufficiency by producing one jarful of beans. It hardly seems worthwhile. Yet, there is something so pleasing about pawing into a bowlful of dry beans, harvested a few steps from our back door.
Which plant, or variety, from your garden swept you off your feet this season? I would love to know, especially if it is hardy enough for our short prairie growing season!