Tuesday, December 26, 2017

I found wingbeans!

This may not be exciting to you, but to me it is monumental.

When I lived in Ghana between 1984 and 1986, my favourite green vegetable was the wingbean.

Dana, the Peace Corps Volunteer and physics teacher, was my supplier. He had learned that the miracle wingbean thrived in the tropical climate and set about doing what he could to promote it. Dana built enormous bamboo tripods to grow wingbeans and generously shared his crops with me.

Wingbeans (Wikipedia calls them "winged beans", but they'll always be wingbeans to me) are a miracle crop because every single part of the plant is edible and they are nitrogen-fixing. Because they are nitrogen-fixing, they don't need fertilizer and after you've grown some wingbeans, you can plant another crop that needs nitrogen without adding fertilizer.

My favourite edible part were the immature green pods, chopped and added to fried rice. A bit firmer than a green bean, with a slightly sweet, mild flavour.

I've gone 31 years without having a wingbean.

Until now. I've discovered them at the Lim Bangkok Grocery at the corner of Somerset and Booth, right here in Ottawa. They're not as long and healthy looking as Dana's used to be, but they've come all the way from Thailand.

I almost whooped out loud when I spotted them.

[Bonus points for anyone who can guess what I'm going to do with the two very ripe plantains I also bought today.]


Dana Lee Ling said...

Amazing! Wingbeans as an export crop! They are a miracle food, but later crops we're lost to insects there in Ghana. The plant originated in Asia as I recall. As for the ripe plantain, I think I know and will let others guess.

David Scrimshaw said...

That is good of you to let others guess, Dana. I'm sure you know and will give you the bonus points anyway.

Joel said...

I believe you will fry them in palm oil with ginger and red pepper, and call them kelewele, and consider yourself a lucky man and much contented.

David Scrimshaw said...

Full bonus points to Joel!