Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. This week I actually have a mix of old and new harvests to share. Last year I grew tepary beans for the first time, with pretty good results. One variety was called Sacaton Brown, and my test planting of it made right at a half pound of dried beans from a four foot row. The below photo is a little blurry, but you can see that the beans are quite small compared to most beans, and more flat than rounded when they are dry. I wanted to be able to enjoy the taste of these without a lot of competing flavors, so I decided to cook them up and make refried beans with them.
Tepary beans are higher in fiber and protein than many other beans, and have a rich flavor and meaty texture. Though they might look like lentils with their small size, they cook up like other beans and hold their shape when cooked. I soaked these beans all morning, then cooked them up the Rancho Gordo way. I added a little chopped onion for seasoning, and simmered at low heat until they were tender. It took about two hours until they started getting tender. At that point I added a bit of salt, and continued cooking for another half hour or so.
The beans were destined for tostadas, so I needed a bit of lettuce to go with the beans. I have some growing in the greenhouse in my homemade Salad Boxes, and it was ready for harvesting. It’s a mix of varieties that I planted back in December, including Radichetta, Simpson Elite, Winter Marvel, Jester and Outstanding. I have gotten a lot of use out of the boxes since I made them back in 2011, and they are holding up quite well considering they were made out of untreated dimensional 2×4 lumber.
I cut only the outer leaves, and left the plants to produce more. It made for a colorful bowl of lettuce, with the red Outstanding, the speckled Jester and the light greens of Radichetta and Simpson Elite. Jester is a lovely lettuce from Wild Garden Seeds, and is a cross between Reine d’Glaces, Merlot and Forellenschluss.
I refried the beans, mashing them and adding a little of the cooking liquid to smooth them out. I seasoned them with a little ground cumin and a bit of my homemade chile powder. I baked corn tortillas (not homemade) for shells, and topped with the refried tepary beans plus cheese and lettuce.
Another fresh harvest came from the greenhouse, a cutting of Simpson Elite lettuce that is planted in one of the beds. That wound up in a wilted lettuce salad we enjoyed for dinner one night last week.
We still have quite a bit of our 2015 asparagus frozen. I used a couple of pounds of it to make asparagus soup for dinner one night. It’s a light treatment, with chicken broth for a base and a medium sized potato added to thicken it a bit. I topped it off with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled with some of my homemade smoked paprika. It’s hard to believe, but in another month or so the first asparagus spears should be coming up, and that is always an event worth celebrating here at HA.
Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!
Oooh, I stayed up late to finish my harvest post and found your post already live so I get to be first! The Tepary beans look so good. You inspired me to try them also so I ordered a couple of varieties from Native Seeds. And I placed my first order with Wild Garden Seeds this year – all those fabulous lettuces and greens! It was so difficult to choose. I am amazed at how productive you lettuce boxes are, it just doesn’t seem like such a shallow box would support such lush growth. And I love the variety of shapes and colors that you’ve chosen. Beautiful.
Wild Garden Seeds has such a dizzying selection of lettuce varieties. I like to try a few new ones every year. Jester and Outstanding both came from them. Outstanding is a selection out of Outredgeous, a red romaine type.
I will be looking to see how the tepary beans do for you. They seem to be pretty well adapted to different conditions.
What a great time to have old and new harvests to use in the same dish! Those beans look great and remind me that I have a small amount of tarbais beans left. And that lettuce box really looks wonderful.
I too am in awe of you lettuce box, it is breakfast time at my house and I could have one of your tostada and a bowl of your asparagus soup also.
I wish I had another tostada, but all the beans are gone! I could eat one for breakfast.
Those beans sure do look good, and they make a healthy tostada! What a luxury to have enough asparagus to make soup!
I have some cooked cranberry beans in the fridge and was planning on doing refried beans today as well – your tostadas look delicious! Unfortunately, no homegrown lettuce to top them for me – only shop bought for at least another couple of months (sigh…).
Those salad boxes are great – I would love to get something like that going at some point…of course, I’d need to get a greenhouse first!
I can see how the lettuce boxes could be useful in many climates. Their portability allows easy moves from sun to shade or protection from an impending frost. Thanks for the link to the older post.
Here in the Southern California, I would have to think whether the water to grow a half pound of beans in a four foot row was a justifiable use of scarce water. If our drought and high summer temperatures persist some of us may have to make decisions about what to plant based on the water requirement.
The tepary beans are supposed to be drought resistant, and growers in the U.S. Southwest time planting to depend on the monsoon rains for most of the water. We had ample rain last summer here, but it will be interesting to see how they do with our usual hot and dry summer weather.
Good point. Beans are a staple of Southwest Native Americans. Timing may be everything as you point out.
The beans are really interesting, they didn’t look as if they’d plump up like that from dried.
And yes….the lettuce looks really good. Very jealous! I might sow some in plugs this week to grow in the greenhouse before it’s taken over by toms later in the year.
Wow, the tepary beans really rehydrate a lot, I wonder if I can find them over here – I might have to substitute another bean for tostadas
I’ve never heard of tepary beans.. they look delicious! I might have to add that to my “to grow” list. Your lettuce is very pretty and colorful, such a nice treat for the middle of winter. I love the rustic look of those salad boxes.
I was not familiar with tepary beans either until I bought a bag. Once I tasted them I had to try growing them!
Oh my goodness, this is so embarrassing! I meant to post my comment on a different gardening blog, one that was about tomatoes. Sorry, Dave, I’m very sleep deprived! Congratulations on growing the All-America Selection Winners, that is really cool.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to join you this year for Harvest Mondays.
No problem! I figured the comment was intended for somewhere else. I hope you can join us for Harvest Mondays too! Be sure and share how you are using your harvests too. This time of year many of us aren’t taking in a lot of new stuff, but it’s always fun to see how others are using their harvests.