“There was an old man of Orleans,
Who was given to eating of beans;
Till once out of sport,
he swallowed a quart,
That dyspeptic old man of Orleans.”
Edward Lear, English artist, writer;
known for his ‘literary nonsense’ & limericks (1812-1888)
The common bean has been cultivated for at least 6000 years, having been developed and grown independently in two separate places…Mesoamerica and the Andes. It does well as a companion plant with strawberries, carrots, cauliflowers, cucumbers, cabbage, beet, leek, and celeriac. They don’t do as well with alliums or fennel. Yet when put with potatoes they are exceedingly happy…the potatoes offer protection from the Mexican bean beetle, while the beans offer defense from the Colorado bean beetle. They have been used in companion planting since antiquity….the Native Americans made the beans one of the three sisters, the other two sisters being corn and squash.
The beans are considered good in folk medicine. The pods are mildly diuretic. And the seed is diuretic, hypoglycemic, and hypotensive. Flour made from the dried ground seeds have been used for the treatment of external ulcers. To treat rheumatism, arthritis and problems with the urinary tract a homeopathic remedy made from the entire plant may be used.
The immature seedpods are used as a vegetable. They retain a mild flavor if cooked for only a short time, being served while still lightly crisp. In Africa and Indonesia the leaves are used as a tasty and nutritious potherb. The mature seed may be dried for later use. One use of the dried seed is to roast them and use them as a coffee substitute.
This species includes the common green bean as well as wax beans, and various dried beans such as red kidney, pinto, and navy.
Cherokee succotash: Many today know succotash as using lima beans, but originally it utilized string beans
Remove corn from the cob
Snap and slice green beans about 1” in length
Cook together until beans are tender