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Know Your Produce: Dragon's Tongue Beans

Dagon Tongue beans are an open pollinated heirloom variety originally cultivated in the 18th Century in the Netherlands. The bean has a warm cream color with vivid violet variegations throughout its stringless pod. Its shape is broad and the bean measures to an average of six inches in length. The pods are crisp and succulent and bear four to six plump bone white seeds with pink to purple stripes that turn tan with age. The fresh seeds are firm, slightly starchy, nutty and sweet. The entire bean can be eaten raw or cooked. When cooked, the bean loses its variegated colors.

Store: wrap in plastic; refrigerate. Use beans within one week for optimum flavor and texture.

Prep: Wash in cool water. Remove the tips of the bean with a paring knife.

Use: Best raw, Dragon Tongue beans are also excellent steamed, but the color fades during cooking. Perfect for pickling with spices, adds its naturally good flavor to bean salads and stir-fries. Serve simply as a delicious side dish. Its unique color makes this bean an attractive edible garnish and an interesting conversation piece when served to curious guests.