Summer Vegetable Feature

Psophocarpus tetragonolobus

Featuring: Winged Bean

Fun Facts, a Recipe and More!

About: Did you know that Winged Beans are known and grown primarily for their edible "winged" pods? Although the origination of this vegetable is unknown, it has been a staple in the Sri Lankan diet, traditionally used in curries and served with rice. These beans are excellent sources of dietary protein and oil. 

Unique to this veggie, the immature pods, seeds, tuberous roots, leaves and flowers can all be consumed and are a rich protein source. Also, the seeds are noted as a rich source of the antioxidant tocopherol, a substance important in Vitamin A utilization. To see a full explanation of each part of the plant and its cultivation and uses, be sure to check out the Winged Bean ECHO Development Note.

Dr. Martin Price, ECHO's Co-Founder, has written a Summer Vegetable Guide for SW Florida describing uses, cultivation details and fun facts. Check it out here.

Recipe: Mixed Curry *Serves 2-4*

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup winged bean pods, sliced 
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon of chopped onion
  • 2 Teaspoons of chili powder
  • 1 Teaspoon of curry powder (feel free to add more based on personal taste)
  •  1/4 Teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of ground mustard
  • 1" cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup of thin coconut milk*
  • 1/2 cup of thick coconut milk*
  • dash of salt (up to your discretion) 

* Canned coconut milk generally contains both thick and thin milk with the thick milk on top.

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together, except the thick coconut milk.
  2. Simmer in a covered pot until the winged beans and potatoes are tender.
  3. Add the thick milk, and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick.

 

 

Loquat Low-down

At first glance, one would never imagine that the mild-mannered Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) might be a member of the same botanical family as its more famous and flamboyant cousins the rose, apple, and pear.

Yet, it is.

Despite being more obscure, the loquat is an attractive evergreen tree in its own right, with its foliage of long, dark green, serrated leaves.  The tree’s upright, symmetrical form is indeed handsome, and its height can often reach some 25 to 30 feet. 

Cultivation of loquats began more than 2,000 years ago in China for the clusters of small orange-colored fruits. The fuzzy, oval fruit is tart to sweet depending on the variety, and must ripen on the tree.  Each fruit contains between one and five brown seeds that should not be ingested.  Sweet varieties make a wonderful addition to fruit salads and ambrosias.  The more tart varieties or slightly immature fruit are recommended for jams, jellies, and pies. 

The loquat is cold hardy and drought tolerant. Here on our farm, we have a number of rain-fed loquat trees that thrive without irrigation.  Obviously, if given adequate water the fruit quality will clearly be maximized, but the key point is that the “low-quat” is about as “low-maintenance” as you can get.

For information concerning edible plants and a diverse selection of tropical and sub-tropical fruits, visit ECHO's Tropical Fruit Nursery.