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Cooking Hyacinth Beans

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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


Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

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 allover the markets, infact in some restaurants they sell hyacinth bean meals(made from dry hyacinth beans). Infact even my mom used to even grind them with other cereals for porridge flour.""

By Lynda (Guest Post)09/26/2006

O.K., 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/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 Calif. 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 food/drink/smoke/
drugs that are not intended for consumption/inhalation/innoculation, 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/grow. God's continual knowledge and wisdom about ALL things will ALWAYS be available to us in abundance for the asking. : )

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel [9]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.

By Lynda (Guest Post)09/26/2006

I'm REALLY surprised the moderator and advisor allowed this mistake to get through. The information about growing Hyacinth B U L B S is NOT the same information about EATING HYACINTH B E A N S FROM THE HYACINTH BEAN V I N E. These are TOTALLY TWO DIFFERENT PLANTS, as anyone can see. Hyacinth plants that are sold in florest shops/groc. are HUGE STALKY FRAGRANT BLOOMS...NOT at all
related to the delicate Hyacinth BEAN VINE. Sorry
you misunderstood that somehow from whatever you read/heard from those who don't know. Now you do, right? 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.

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-poisonous" notice from someone, and wonder if all growers should be notified?, because 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!
Have any of you been poisoned by them? Could it be that I am just favored/lucky/blessed to not get
poisoned? God does mention that His children shall
not be affected by poisons during these times we are in. Could this be the first sign of the proof of that? (Or, could it be that someone might have the wrong information or was given wrong advice?
There is a Hyacinth water flower that may be poison.
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 Garden Centers, or ANYONE, sell the bean as a Flowering Vegetable if it is poisonous? There were ABSOLUTELY NO WARNINGS OF THIS SORT ON THE SEED PACKAGE.

So, folks, if anyone can PROVE it to be poisonous, do you realize that I have JUST RECEIVED ANOTHER MIRACLE HEALING???? WHAT A MIGHTY GOD WE
SERVE! What He has done for me, He will do for anyone who believes in Him. God bless you in your research.

By (Guest Post)09/25/2006

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...........Connie from Ballwin

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