Winged beans are a type of bean that grows underground. They have no leaves or stems, but they do grow into plants. These beans are edible when cooked and can be used in many dishes such as soups, stews, casseroles and other foods. There are different types of these beans which include white (or regular) eyed beans, red eyed beans and black eyed beans. White eyed beans are usually smaller than the others. Red eyed beans are larger and black eyed beans are even bigger.
The name “winged” refers to their appearance because they look like little birds with wings. You will see them in your garden when they start sprouting from the ground. They may not appear at first sight, but if you pay attention, you might notice them soon after planting seeds in soil that contains compost or manure.
There are several varieties of these beans, but they all produce pods similar to those of tomatoes. When ripe, the pods split open and release their contents. Some varieties contain small seeds while others don’t. A few varieties are poisonous and must not be eaten!
Some people believe that eating these beans helps prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis. However, there is no scientific evidence to support any of this claim. Small studies have been done, but the findings were inconclusive.
Winged beans are high in fiber and low in fat. They also contain high levels of folate and calcium and a moderate amount of vitamin C. Beans are also a good source of minerals such as potassium and manganese. They are low in calories (about 40 for half a cup).
It’s best to plant these seeds directly into soil because they do not grow well when transplanted. They do well in warm weather and can grow in most climates. Make sure to harvest before a heavy frost occurs as they could get damaged.
Harvest the beans once they turn from green to a yellowish color. Gently squeeze the pods to check for doneness. Remove the outer shell (this is easiest if you gently squeeze the pod and blow away from you—the shell will come off with the air) and enjoy! You can also dry the beans and store them for later use.
There are several ways to prepare these beans. They can be eaten raw, pickled, added to salads, made into soups or even breads and casseroles. You can also make bean burgers or eat them alone as a side dish. The beans taste like baked beans when added to barbeque sauce and cooked on the grill.
Below you can find a list of some of the most popular types of beans and how to prepare them.
Black Beans—These are commonly used in Mexican dishes. They are large and round with a dark color. When cooked they turn lighter in color. These beans contain 12% protein, 7% fiber and 71 calories for every half cup.
Cannellini Beans—These are large, white kidney beans and are a popular choice for salads. They have a buttery flavor. When cooked they become yellowish in color. These beans contain 18% protein, 25% fiber and 196 calories for every half cup.
Cranberry Beans—These are small and oval with a gray/green speckled appearance. These beans have a sweet taste. When cooked they turn a lighter color. These beans contain 19% protein, 48% fiber and only 110 calories for every half cup.
Lentils—These are small, disk shaped seeds that are packed together in a pyramid formation. They are available in various colors such as orange, red and green. (They are not the same thing as French green lentils.) The variety known as “Brown lentils” are the most common. These have a nutty flavor and become soft when cooked.
These beans contain 18% protein, 43% fiber and only 115 calories for every half cup.
Navy Beans—These are small and oval shaped. They have a white color and a traditional staple of baked beans. When cooked they become creamy in texture. These beans contain 15% protein, 50% fiber and only 115 calories for every half cup.
Peanut Beans—These are very small, have a brown color and taste like peanuts. These beans contain 21% protein, 12% fiber and only 85 calories for every half cup.
Turtle Beans—These are brown in color and medium sized. These beans have a strong flavor and are commonly used in chili con carne and baked beans. When cooked they become very soft. These beans contain 19% protein, 25% fiber and 213 calories for every half cup.
So go on and give beans a try. You might find that you really like them!
*This blog post was written by a user. Learn more about Bean Box bloggers.
Sources & references used in this article:
Nutritive value of the winged bean (Psophocarpus palustris Desv.) by K Cerny, JM Kordylas, F Pospisil, O Svabensky, B Zajic – 1971 – pdfs.semanticscholar.org
Quick‐cooking winged beans (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus) by LB Rockland, EM Zaragosa… – Journal of Food …, 1979 – Wiley Online Library
Proximate analysis of five varieties of winged beans, Psophocarpus tetragonolobus (L.) DC* by VV Garcia, JK Palmer – International Journal of Food Science & …, 1980 – Wiley Online Library
Electrophoretic separation and properties of winged bean seed trypsin inhibitor by DF Hildebrand, NS Hettiarachchy… – … the Science of Food …, 1981 – Wiley Online Library
Winged bean in human nutrition by SS Kadam, DK Salunkhe, BS Luh – … in Food Science & Nutrition, 1984 – Taylor & Francis
Winged bean: An underutilized tropical legume on the path of improvement, to help mitigate food and nutrition security by CS Mohanty, V Singh, MA Chapman – Scientia Horticulturae, 2020 – Elsevier
Nutritive value of the winged bean (Psophocarpus palustris Desv.) by K Černý, M Kordylas, F Pospíšil… – … Journal of Nutrition, 1971 – cambridge.org
The winged bean. Will the wonder crop be another flop? by CJK Henry, PA Donachie… – … of Food and Nutrition, 1985 – Taylor & Francis