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posted by janrinok on Thursday August 04, @08:14AM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-yet-amount-to-a-hill-of-beans-in-this-crazy-world dept.

Ancient crop provides flavor for humans, forage for livestock:

Tepary beans are among the most drought-tolerant legume crops in the world, but at one time, they were almost an endangered species in the U.S.

Waltram Ravelombola, Ph.D., a Texas A&M AgriLife Research organic and specialty crop breeder at Vernon and in the Texas A&M Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, is one of a few scientists funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service grant to bring tepary beans into modern cropping systems and diets.

The legume — pronounced tep-uh-ree — is an ancient crop native to the northern part of Mexico and the southwestern part of the U.S. The beans can be multiple sizes and colors, like pinto or black beans, but they offer drought tolerance other legumes don't, Ravelombola said.

Teparys can be consumed as beans by humans or as forage by livestock, providing better nutrition content than cowpeas and guar. Like cowpeas and guar, tepary can fix nitrogen in the soil.

Yet currently, Ravelombola said, no large supplies of seed exist to be planted.

[...] However, getting the beans to the point of widespread commercialization won't be an easy process.

Ravelombola said it will take at least eight growing seasons; there could be more than one growing season per year, depending on climate. [...]

Anyone ever eat one? It surprises me that a niche market for them never developed over the decades, or that they didn't find their way to a different part of the globe.


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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Thursday August 04, @09:34AM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 04, @09:34AM (#1264899) Homepage Journal

    I did a search to see if these beans were available on the market. https://www.nativeseeds.org/ [nativeseeds.org]

    Our Mission

    Native Seeds/SEARCH seeks to find, protect and preserve the seeds of the people of the Greater Southwest so that these arid adapted crops may benefit all peoples and nourish a changing world.

    They have a variety of crop seeds available, including 16 varieties of tepary beans, https://www.nativeseeds.org/collections/tepary-beans [nativeseeds.org]

    First grown in the Southwest during ancient times, tepary beans (Phaseolus acutifolius) mature quickly and are tolerant of the low desert heat, drought and alkaline soils. They are among the most drought and heat tolerant crops in the world. Tepary beans are high in protein and contain soluble fiber helpful in controlling cholesterol and diabetes. Generally white tepary beans have a slightly sweet flavor and brown tepary beans have an earthy flavor. Tepary beans can be used in place of any standard dried bean. Soak the dried beans before cooking. They are best planted with the mid-summer monsoon rains characteristic of the Southwest, unless otherwise stated. They generally do not tolerate wet conditions and clay soils. Teparies are most productive with some drought stress as they mature. They generally do not require support, though many will climb if given the chance. Approx. 7g/50 seeds per packet unless otherwise stated.

    Anyone ever eat one?

    Maybe. I suspect that eating out in Mexico or the US southwest, you might get some of these with your meal. Not in a chain restaurant, but in those little Mom & Pop family restaurants. I've never asked what kind of bean was in my refried beans!

    I need to learn whether I can grow them, and when is the right time to plant. I've shot an email to them info@nativeseeds.org to see if I should attempt growing them with my fall crop.

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