Growing Heirloom protein in the garden

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Incorporating and Consumption of Beans in our daily lives have endured a shameful neglect & decline in many areas of the U.S. That is not to say all beans, the focus I emphasize here goes to the Dry bean category.
With as much protein in  a quarter pound of dried beans equal to 3 ounces of meat per person, it is a proven fact protein from those beans require a much lower carbon footprint than the one with animal proteins.
Keeping the above in mind, why are we not focusing more on the inclusion of dry beans into our gardens and Pantry? Quoting from my current read of The Rancho Gordo Heirloom bean growers guide:*
"You could eat a different heirloom bean every day for months, each with it's own distinctive character."
As I mentioned in my last post, I in no way intend or urge eliminating meat from the diet. What I do intend & urge is for my family as well as for many others to trim down the over consumption of meat we have become accustomed to. Raising & preserving your own Dry beans in larger amounts then your use to can replace the need {and higher cost}of animal protein. With healthier personal benefits as well as less impact to the environment. Raising your own meat, for many, still means feed from a supplier. The chain goes on down the line just as the cons of buying from the local butcher or Grocer. Before you disregard beans with the instant popping up of the school yard song 'beans, beans, the more we eat, the more we... Well. It's because your not eating enough of them!
The U.S Bean council* weighs in {really? We have a bean council? Wow..}
"If high-fiber foods such as dry beans are not a regular part of your diet, the natural oligosaccharides (complex carbs.) in beans may cause temporary digestive discomfort. Research shows that adding beans to your diet on a regular basis — at least once or twice a week — reduces flatulence.."

In our garden beds of 2013, there will be a newcomer as well as a familiar. My Borlotti  Bean* was once again ravaged by the rabbit population {the typical Peter Rabbit tale will begin a new chapter. hopefully with more positive results this year}. Previously, they left just enough to seed this year's small seed only purpose crop. I am thankful for their unintentional consideration.

The new comer is the Good Mother Stallard bean*.  
Thankfully, they are available with Annie's heirlooms. Our choice of this year's Seed order.
Rancho Gordo has this to say on the Variety:

"I hate when anyone asks me to name my favorite bean. Can you name a favorite child? No! But if I had favorites, I'd certainly have to consider Good Mother Stallards. Dense and delicious, they also exude the most perfect pot liquor of any bean. Just this bean, some onion, some garlic and a splash of olive oil are all you need for cooking and the result is a luscious bean fiesta.
Please prepare them simply and avoid the natural tendency to want to make them better by fussing about. Enjoy them without all the trappings to really get the most out of them!
If pushed, I could suggest these for a chili or a soup. The texture and shape are so pleasing, I think they'd be wasted if you pureed or made refried beans out of them."

If your gardening history has bouts of seed and sprout stealers, dashing any hope for a bountiful harvest.  Use Mesh screen or make Chicken wire "tunnels"!
 Once your beans have sprouted up, lay down thick layers of newspaper and mulch around their stems to prevent the needs of weeding. The plants will be left on their own to fully mature and dry out right where they are. Plant them in a space away from the main area where other plants demand more attention.
While your waiting on their harvest, use the time to explore the low amount available Dried bean cook books. Seriously. There are not enough on this subject. Someone needs to collect hundreds of dried bean recipes that are more diverse and less common. Someone needs to taste test & share their findings into a book. Any volunteers? I'd buy one as long as it was not full of chili, mashed & baked beans. less grocery store black & pinto & navy beans. I'd like to see more main meals and gourmet results keeping cost/availability of ingredients in mind. After all, Rancho Gordo  has MANY heirloom dried beans available for purchase by the pound. Perfect for Home gardeners to try out a variety before growing on your own.
Sweet Dreams,

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