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The Wing bean plant produces pea-like beans with four-winged edges. Its lawn green pods are best picked when immature, so that the pod and beans within can be eaten. Their flavor is sweet like many pea varieties, with a clean grassy finish. If harvesting the leaves, they have a mild spinach-like flavor and the flowers' flavor has been compared to the flavor of mushrooms.
Wing beans are available during the spring, summer and fall months.
The Wing bean, AKA Winged bean, Asparagus pea and Goa pea, is an herbaceous perennial legume plant. Its beans grow on climbing vines and stems similar to other legume varieties such as snow peas and fava beans. In addition to being cultivated for its beans, the leaves, flowers, roots and dried seeds can also be harvested for culinary purposes.
Wing beans offer an abundance of essential nutrients, including protein, complex carbohydrates, B vitamins, calcium, iron and fiber.
As Wing beans are cultivated in tropical Asia, Africa and Hawaii they are used most often as a vegetable within cuisines from these regions. The delicate pods pick up bold flavors of chiles, garlic and spices.
In Sri Lanka and southern India, Wing beans are most often used for pickling. In Myanmar and New Guinea, special cultivars are grown for their tuberous roots, which resemble mini sweet potatoes and have a nutty taste.
Wing beans are only known to be cultivated, no wild specimen has ever been found. Original cultivation began in Papua New Guinea where the greatest diversity of varieties exist. Wing beans thrive in tropical climates with warm weather, humidity and abundant rainfall. They are grown in Southeast Asia, specifically areas within both the Phillipines and Thailand. Wing beans also grow prolifically in tropical Africa and within the islands of Hawaii.
Recipes that include Wing Beans. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Real Thai Recipes||Wing Bean Salad|
|The Modern Vegetarian||Stir-Fried Winged Bean with Vegetarian Belacan|
|Heart and Hearth||Winged Beans Stewed in Coconut Milk|
|Kong Kay||Wing Beans Kerabu|
|Kahakai Kitchen||Sauteed Winged Beans|
People have spotted Wing Beans using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
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