Scientific Name: Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis
Common Names: Habichuelas Cimarronas, Yardlong Beans, Snake Beans, Chinese Long, Frijoles Salvajes, Asparagus Beans
Description: Habichuelas cimarronas, or yardlong beans, are a type of legume known for their long, slender pods. The beans can grow up to 1 yard (approximately 1 meter) in length, hence their name. The pods are usually green but can vary in color, and they have a crunchy texture and slightly sweet flavor.
Distribution: Yardlong beans are believed to have originated in Southeast Asia and are widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions. They are popular in various Asian countries, such as China, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines. They are also grown in some parts of Africa and the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico.
Habitat: Yardlong beans thrive in warm and humid climates, making them well-suited for tropical regions like Puerto Rico. They prefer well-drained soil and ample sunlight, making them a common crop in backyard gardens and small farms on the island.
Culinary Use: Habichuelas cimarronas are a versatile ingredient in cooking and are used in a variety of dishes. They can be stir-fried, sautéed, boiled, or steamed and are often added to soups, curries, and noodle dishes. The beans retain their crispness even after cooking, making them a popular choice for salads and vegetable platters.
Medicinal Use: Yardlong beans, like other legumes, are a nutritious food rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. They are a good source of protein and can contribute to a balanced diet. In traditional medicine, some cultures believe that yardlong beans may have diuretic and cooling properties, but specific medicinal uses are not widely documented.
Fun Fact: In Puerto Rico, habichuelas cimarronas are an important part of the culinary heritage and are commonly included in traditional recipes. They are known for their versatility and ability to add flavor and texture to many dishes. Additionally, yardlong beans are appreciated for their potential to grow rapidly and produce abundant harvests, making them a valuable and sustainable food source in tropical regions like Puerto Rico.