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Tiger's Eye Shelling Beans
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Tiger’s Eye shelling beans are known for their beautifully patterned seeds or beans contained within the bean pods of the plant which when mature, replicates its namesake. Pods can be harvested when young and used as a snap bean when pods are tender and pale green to yellow in color. If allowed to mature the pods will turn to a dusty yellow hue and swell from the mature beans contained inside. Beans when fresh are a creamy white with swirls of cranberry red. Once fully mature and dried beans turn their signature tan hue and the tiger-like swirls a darker maroon/brown. Offering a nutty and rich bean flavor the texture of Tiger’s Eye beans is creamy when cooked and the thin skins of the beans tend to dissolve and the beans fall apart.
Tiger's Eye shelling beans are available in the late summer and early fall months.
Botanically a part of Phaseolus vulgaris the Tiger's Eye shelling bean are known as one of the most visually attractive shell type beans available. Sought after for the unique color pattern of its interior beans the Tiger’s Eye can be harvested and used at varying stages of maturity. It can be used as a snap bean when immature, as a fresh shelling bean, or as a dried legume. Fresh beans can be found at farmers markets when in season but most commonly the beans are found sold in their dried form.
Tiger’s Eye beans are rich in protein and carbohydrates. Additionally, they offer fiber and antioxidants.
Tiger’s Eye beans can be used in multiple stages of maturity. When young they can be prepared as a snap bean and eaten raw or prepared in a fashion similar to that of green beans. Most commonly they are utilized when more mature as a fresh shell bean or as a dried legume. Dried beans should first be soaked overnight prior to use. Tiger’s Eye beans can be simmered, sautéed, braised, and roasted. The skin of Tiger’s Eye beans dissolve and beans fall apart when cooked which makes them ideal for use in soups, pasta e fagioli, and stews as a thickener. Beans also work well as a refried bean or in chili. Tiger’s Eye beans also work well when cooked, pureed, and used to make sauces and dips. To store keep fresh Tiger’s Eye shelling beans refrigerated. Beans are best when shelled and used within four to five days.
Tiger’s Eye beans are also known as Pepa de Zapallo, Eye of the Tiger and Ojo de Tigre.
Tiger’s Eye shelling beans are believed to be native to Chile or Argentina. Tiger’s Eye shelling beans should be planted a few weeks after the last frost has occurred and will be ready for harvest as a snap bean at fifty-five days, as a shell bean within seventy-five days and as a dried bean within ninety-five days. Tiger’s Eye bean plants grow in a bush-like habit and are prolific producers.