Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gandule Beans

Gandule Beans were introduced by Puerto Rican plantation workers who immigrated to the islands in the 1900s. This legume is most commonly known as the Pigeon Pea which is kind of funny since Cajanus cajan is not really a pea at all.
I planted a long line of these about a year ago, hoping to provide some fast growing wind protection for my new vegetable garden. Boy was i surprised when almost all of the pea plants grew to only about two feet tall! Since then I have learned that there are over 600 varieties of Pigeon Peas. I am now picking my third harvest since planting them a year ago and have given them NO CARE, not even water during the dry summer months. The seeds came from ECHO, a wonderful organization based in Florida.
I try to pick them as they are just filling the pod. If I time it just right, the beans are plump, tender and sweet and can be eaten raw or with only brief cooking. They lose their beautiful markings during cooking and don't taste exactly like soybeans but are still good. I steamed them in the pod the other day and we ate them like Edamame, dousing the shelled peas with chile pepper water.


Jane said...

I've not heard of pigeon peas before and they look really good! The plants are pretty too. I especially like the fact that you didn't water them and they still grew. I live in the no rain belt of south Kihei so I'm probably dreaming if I think I can plant anything that I don't have to water every day!

Julie said...

They are not the most delicious beans i grow but they really are easy peasy. Can you believe they have been producing beans since December?