The hyacinth bean is a vigorous climber, a twining and climbing plant with green, heart-shape leaves that comes in leaflets. The strikingly beautiful flowers ranges from light to deep pink, and purple that comes in a single stalk. When in bloom, this sun loving vine is indeed eye-catching specially the purple hyacinth bean. Like the chayote plant, the hyacinth bean's shoots along with its pods is consumed.
Known as bataw by Filipinos, hyacinth bean is a favorite garden plant. While the flowers are edible, most growers are after the pods. There are also varities of hyacinth bean that bears white or yellow flowers, but I was only familiar with this kind. The young and matured pods both display the purple color not only on their edges but on their stalks as well.
With the matured pods, the seeds are gathered and the pods are disregarded while with the young ones it is all eaten up with the rough edges removed.
Some grows this vine as a forage, but I hadn't recalled or remember my parents growing hyacinth bean for that purpose, we grow hyacinth bean for our own consumption, usually the pods. The young ones are tender, with their light green seeds still developing. The matured fruits has rough, purplish edges that has to be remove, and the pods split before cooking. With the really matured ones, only the seeds are taken.
Not only the fruits are eaten but the shoots as well can be consumed. In Filipino cuisine, hyacinth bean shoots are cook along with other vegetables, such as the pinakbet dish of the Ilocanos.
Hyacinth bean loves the warm weather, grows fast and displays clusters of gorgeous purple flowers and it is also grown for this reason.
Below are photos of hyacinth beans. The one below was a friend's and was taken late February. While our hyacinth took a break for the Winter season, theirs appears to be lively and blooming with flowers and already has young pods. I was told its been green all year last year.
Did you know?
* Hyacinth beans can be planted as ornamental plants.
* The purple flowers are fragrant and helps attracts both hummers and butterflies in the yard.
* The bean is made into a curry and is also used as a flavoring to a rice-based breakfast called Akki Rotti in the state of Karnataka (South West India.)
* The hyacinth bean is also known as calavance, Indian beans, and Egyptian bean.
* It is best to consume the dry hyacinth bean seeds after prolonged boiling as they are poisonous. If consumed raw it can cause cyanide poisoning as the seeds are highly concentrated with cyanogenic glycoside.
* Even the flowers of the plant can be consumed.
* The roots are consumed as well, and the soil is enriched with nitrogen by the bacteria found on this plants roots.
Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses
* Hyacinth bean is a good source of calcium, C vitamin, zinc, carotene, iron, and B1 vitamin.
* The stems of hyacinth bean is used for the treatment of cholera.
* The pods juice is use for inflamed throat and ears treatment.
* Stir-baked, the hyacinth bean is used to reduce vomiting and nausea incidents.
* Infusion of the leaves is also used into treating gonorrhea.
* A poultice made from the plant's leaves is used to treat snake bites but when mix together with turmeric and rice flowers, it can help with treating eczema.
precy anza (author) from USA on May 22, 2013:
A crab meat salad with corn on the cob sounds good. Living in a fishing village looks interesting to me. Makes me reminisce about those times my dad would treat my younger brother and I for an early walk by the shore, says good for my asthma. I love the sunrise and a few times we got some fresh fish too as we are lucky the fishermen just got back on shore before we decided to go home. Thanks for sharing that Avian ^-^'
Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on May 21, 2013:
Wow, precy anza, you sure have some of the finest things to eat. I remember when I was young and living in a fishing village, the lobstermen wanted nothing to do with crabs in their traps. His wife and my mother used to cook the crab, and it was wonderful eating. Of course, nowadays, everyone wants crabmeat, but those were the days. We frequently had crab salad with corn on the cob, a great feast.
precy anza (author) from USA on May 19, 2013:
Hi Jill :)
Yes, they are edible. Just make sure to really boil the seeds. With the pods, cooked them well too. There was this time I cooked them half cooked and they tasted a bit bitter. Thank you for stopping by! ^-^'
precy anza (author) from USA on May 19, 2013:
Glad to know you like how they taste :) I prefer the young ones with the seeds still developing. I rarely see it here too on Asian stores, luckily we have the plant so we don't have to hunt which stores have it ^-^' Thanks for stopping by!
Jill Spencer from United States on May 19, 2013:
I did not know the bean was edible. Thanks for the info! A lovely hub well worth sharing. --Jill
livingsta from United Kingdom on May 19, 2013:
Thank you for this hub. I know these beans and I do like their taste. These beans are very rare here in the UK and seen sometimes in selected Asian food stores, that too very rarely.
Voted up and sharing!