Chinese Long Beans – Symbol Of Long Life
The Chinese believe that Long Beans are a symbol of long life, owing to their length. As a result, it is a ritual to eat these beans on the occasion of the Chinese New Year. With the New Year coming up in January 2014, there could not be a better occasion to familiarize the non-Asian readers about them.
Chinese Long Bean
Also known as Yardlong Bean, this subtropical/tropical annual plant is a vigorous climbing plant, which produces long pods, up to 14 to 30 inches in length, within a month of sowing. Interestingly, the pods are in pairs and need to be harvested before they mature. They are ready to be eaten when they become crisp, tender, and delicious. These beans are chopped into pieces and cooked just like common green beans.
The popularity of these beans can be assesssed by the fact that the Oriental region grows as many as 10 varieties of Yardlong beans.
1) Black Seed
These beans grow up to 24 inches in length. The firm texture of these beans is complimented in its good flavor, although it matures late and is a popular plant in Southern China.
2) Red Seed
This plant has small seeds and its pods are dark green with thick flesh. Grown in various parts of Asia, this vigorous plant produces beans over a long period.
3) Black Stripe Seed
This is a relatively new variety of long beans, developed in Taiwan. The seeds have black and white stripes, which is why it is also called a White/Black long bean.
The thick, meaty, and crispy pods of this plant derive their name from Kaohsiung, the place of origin of this long bean. This variety is easy to grow and is suitable for kitchen gardens.
5) White Seed
This is again a new variety of long bean, with light green pods, which are just right for stir-fry. This variety gives lots of pods, which can grow up to 20 inches in length.
6) Red Stripe Seed
This variety of long beans is grown in cool, dry climate and with supports, suitable for kitchen gardens. The seeds have red and white stripes, which is why the variety is also called Red/White Seeded.
7) Orient Extra Long
This productive variety is meaty, crispy and red-seeded. The pods reach up to 70 cm in length.
8) Stickless Wonder
This variety of long beans gets its name from the fact that no poles or supports are required to grow it. Grown in warm climate, this plant is suitable for commercial production as well as being grown in kitchen gardens.
With extra long pods, this plant reaches up to 90 cm in length and is grown in subtropical/tropical areas. This variety is excellent to be used in soups and stir-fry.
10) Purple Pod
This unique variety comes in purple color and is tasty enough to give tender and firm pods for cooking purpose.
There are a lot of dishes you can cook with these beans. Some of the excellent dishes happen to be Chinese long bean in South Indian curry, Stir-fried pork with Chinese long beans, and Long beans in black bean sauce.