We’ve been having a lot of fun with a bean plant that we have growing in the garden. We think it might be a madagascar bean. I planted it on the cage that I keep my compost in – to keep the local ibis out of it – and it grew up around the cage very quickly! The ibis still poke around the outside of the cage but on the whole, it worked, and the bean loves growing in the compost. It’s very easy to grow and it makes a for a fantastic and shady bean tipi.
When the bean pods turn brown and rattle a bit, we pick them and take the beans out. It’s pretty fun hunting for the dried pods – and despite having picked as many as we can find in one day, there will always be a new batch the next day.
We were more interested in the beans at first – they are pretty with their pink spots. I had plenty in my cupboard so the children were given some to ‘cook’ with outside. We discovered when you leave them in a bowl of water overnight they are very big the next day!
One of the children decided to peel the fresh beans too – and discovered that the bean skins look like little spotty butterflies! They dry quickly, though, and go curly as they do, so we pressed some in paper towel and then added them to our journey book later.
The pods are fun too! When they dry they twist themselves up into little tubes. They’ve been used as fairy trumpets, little swords, and drills in the sandpit. We’ve added them to our mud and clay sculptures and also discovered that they look lovely when painted with water colours. So pretty, they make attractive hanging decorations – and very easy to thread if you have a long needle! I use the extra long needles I have to make dolls with.
And then of course, you can eat them. We thought of making a dip, but then I remembered there are plenty of tasty ways to bake with beans, so decided that brownies might be fun. Here is our basic recipe … to be honest, I can’t be sure of the quantities as we didn’t measure anything. Our bananas were small too, so maybe you will only need 1 or 2 if you have large soft bananas.
Everything went in the blender and cooked in a lined baking tin at 180C until a skewer came out clean. I reckon you could probably leave the eggs out altogether and add stewed apple or some chia to hold it all together. You might not even need the coconut flour. So it was a bit of an experiment. I like cooking without recipes. We had them for afternoon tea, and three out of four children gave them the thumbs up. Even with no sugar they were moist and sweet with a bit of a crust on top. I liked them. We meant to put the pecans in them too, for a bit of crunch, but forgot, so we ate them together at the end 🙂