Cooking Hyacinth Beans


I have the most magnificent Hyacinth Bean vine, complete with Beans now. How do I cook them, like Snow Peas? I know the leaves, flowers and beans are edible but when I sampled a flower, it had a PUNGENTLY raw bean flavor. Is there a way to tame that strong flavor? I'm thinking par-boil, but does anyone else eat them and have the secret cooking/seasoning technique to share? It's my first year to have them and I'm both impressed and AMAZED at them, and feel that if they TASTE as good cooked, I'll fill my fences with them!

Lynda from TX



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By Susan Sanders-Kinzel 9 2,498 09/26/2006

Hi Lynda,
Here's a link:


that says they are poisonous. I'm not sure if these are the same ones you have. Connie also says that dry seeds should be cooked with 2 changes of water before eating.

Here's another link:


That discusses them. It's hard to know but it might be that the poisons build up over time or the way you cooked them made them safe, or the kind you are growing aren't poisonous.

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By Lynda (Guest Post) 09/26/2006

OK, this research is being done very well, and after reading how many folks eat them and do not even get sick, I will consider them safe enough to eat. The GardenWeb site offered lots of input from others who cook and eat them.

I didn't drink the cooking water, and know that the common knowledge about cooking spinach is that it becomes toxic when cooked, yet, I still occasionally eat spinach and likely will continue learning how to just
cook quickly and lightly saute, as I do the Hyacinth beans. One member mentioned that the Lima Bean is also toxic if not allowed to eliminate it's toxic gas through no-lid cooking?

Now we are told there's a huge problem with E-Coli, from intestinal tracts somewhere, will kill us if we eat the spinach. Perhaps it's from California growers using human waste for fertilizer as many third world countries do? Perhaps it's just a need for portapotties for the overworked migrants in the fields? Regardless, because my bodies' system is so "organic" and somewhat "pure" from not polluting it with drugs that are not intended for consumption, I am a great case study for my own observation with whatever I ingest. I'm a "Princess and the Pea" with sensitivity,
and believe me, if the Hyacinth bean were lightly poisonous or worse, I would be the first to know. : )

I repeat, as in other feedback, that I am amazed at the whole plant! It is truly a delight and a wonder to grow. The seed pods are not too profuse, and I will hope to get more seed from one to plant for the Spring all around the fence row. I may also include the highly recommended Scarlet
Runner, if there are lovely flowers promised as well.

LOL Thank you for taking the time to deal with this and to try to sort it out. When learning what is poisonous for my grandchildren in the way of plants, I was perplexed to learn that almost all plants we
grow in and around our homes are absolutely poisonous to our children. We must be careful with all plants we eat or grow.

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By Purity (Guest Post) 05/09/2008

For all who are worried about hyacinth beans, I come from Africa and there we always eat the hyacinth beans, dry ones which are black with the white seam. Mayb they are a different sub group but believe me we eat them. My grand mother always said that the roots are poisonous but the dry bean is not or maybe our stomachs are different. The dry beans are sold all over the markets. In fact in some restaurants, they sell hyacinth bean meals (made from dry hyacinth beans). In fact even my mom used to even grind them with other cereals for porridge flour.

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By Connie from Ballwin (Guest Post) 09/25/2006

Warning"Dry seeds should be well cooked in two changes of water before eating. Raw dry seeds are poisonous and can cause vomiting, labored breathing, and even convulsions and unconsciousness."

I grow Hyacinth Beans for their beautiful flowers and pods only for looks. Everything i have read on them gives a huge warning of poisonous conditons handled the wrong way. My own personal opinion is that I would not eat them at all. Everything I have read on them post a big poisonous warning sign on eating them.

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By Lynda (Guest Post) 09/26/2006

After posting my tip about the surprise of how wonderful the Hyacinth Bean is, I found this "warning" notice from someone, and wonder if all growers should be notified? All their growing tags say, "all parts edible". It has been 24 hours now, and I have not a single sign of distress, much less any kind of poisoning, and these beans could not taste better!

There is a Hyacinth water flower that may be poisonous. I've had those kinds of Hyacinths in my bog garden, but never been curious or tempted to eat any of them.) Perhaps someone could do more research on this issue? How could a garden center sell the bean as a flowering vegetable if it is poisonous? There were absolutely no warnings of this sort on the seed package. I have an organic garden so I am very cogniscent of such labels.

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By Lynda (Guest Post) 09/26/2006

The information about growing Hyacinth bulbs is not the same information about eating hyacinth beans from the hyacinth bean vine. These are totally two different plants. Hyacinth plants that are sold in florist shops or grocery stores have huge stalky fragrant blooms, not at al related to the delicate Hyacinth bean vine. Human errors are common to us all. God bless you. : )

Editor's Note: We do our best to check things but there are not enough hours in the day for us to do it all. That's why we have feedback and a contact form. I did check on this though and found evidence to support it.

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