I promise to stop talking about beans after this post or at least until spring when I might actually have something of interest to say about them. The last two types of beans we grew this past summer were Kabouli Black Garbanzo and Delinel bush beans. They both performed well and were an excellent addition to the garden.
I've read that Kabouli beans were discovered in Kabul Afghanistan and have been cultivated for thousands of years, a true heirloom. Now Baker Creek, whom I bought my original seeds from, states in their 2008 catalogue (pdf) that "This unique heirloom variety was collected in Kabul, Afghanistan. The 2’ plants produce unusual dark purple beans (mine were definitely black). The purple color comes from a pigment called anthocyanine, which enables seeds to sprout in cool soil, making this variety good for short season areas. Perfect for hummus and other Middle Eastern dishes."
FEDCO states in their catalogue that although garbanzo beans in general originally hailed from Afghanistan "Black Kabouli was developed at Washington State University to be tolerant of cold soils and light frosts. The 2' plants with ornamental purple flowers bear abundant two-seeded pods resembling beach peas with black medium-sized beans."
As legend has it this bean is supposed to attract thunderstorms when blooming so I suppose inconsistencies regarding whether it is anthocyanines or WSU that brings out their cold heartiness is of little importance when one has to worry about being struck by lightning. Regardless, we not only grew them because of their cold tolerant nature but the fact that they are so small we should be able to use our hand powered grain grinder to pulverize them, saving us lots of time on quesadilla night as powdered beans are much quicker to prepare. I have not tried this yet.
The Kabouli beans were as productive as can be expected from a bean that only produces two seeds per pod.
The Delinel bush beans were very vigorous, providing us with numerous fresh green beans throughout the summer months. We did not save any for dried beans or seed (I forgot) so I have no pictures of the of the little black beans that reside in the mature pods.
Thompson Morgan insists that I must never eat these beans raw because they may make you sick. I was not aware of this and did indeed eat many of them raw without consequence. I was not sure if that was supposed to apply to all green beans or just my Delinels.
In all seriousness, I have never heard of this raw bean issue before so I looked up some information regarding the potential toxicity of raw green beans and found that they supposedly contain "Prussic (hydrocyanic) acid," aka Cyanide, which is rendered safe by cooking. Apparently some people can become quite sick after eating raw beans or bean seeds and may suffer from declining blood pressure, vomiting, stomach ache, circulation problems, convulsions, or even heart palpitations. It appears that the susceptibility to these reactions is hereditary, much like "Favism" is in Fava beans. I knew about Favism.
This may indeed be true, I am just surprised that I have been oblivious to the possible toxicity of raw beans. How very interesting. Going forward I think I will continue to "push the envelope" and risk eating raw green beans as I have done since a child. Some people climb mountains and others sky dive, I on the other hand, being the adventurous spirit that I am, eat green beans...raw.:) Please tell me that I am not the only person that was unaware of this?