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Butterfly Bambara Bean
Vigna subterranea 'NAV4'
Uses: Culinary/Medicinal Duration: Annual
When to Sow: Spring Ease of Germination: Easy
This traditional bambara landrace has distinctive grey butterfly markings. Bambara beans are a still largely forgotten grain legume, native to West Africa where it is an important staple food. Its flowers burrow into the soil to produce "groundnuts" or beans much like peanuts do. Bambara beans have a better carb-protein-oil profile than peanuts -- about 65% carbohydrates, 20% protein, and 6% oil. People can live on these beans almost exclusively because the protein is richer and better balanced than other grain legumes. The plant is a low growing creeper with trifoliate leaves and does well in hot dry areas with well-drained sandy soil. It does not need nitrogen fertilizer and does well in poor soils where other crops won’t grow. The beans mature in 90 to 150 days. They are soaked overnight and boiled until tender, and then are simmered with added sauteed onions, chile peppers, salt and spices. Fresh immature beans can be boiled and eaten where the growing season is not long enough to fully mature. The beans were once given as ceremonial gifts, and recently they have become a favourite of the affluent because of their high nutritional value and taste. Despite its obvious value as a crop, it was largely ignored by breeders and has been little improved as a crop. Like many Third World food plants, bambara is also medicinal: the leaves are used for abscesses and the roots are used as an aphrodisiac.
S9571 SeedZoo(tm) Seeds 20 seeds $6.25/pkt
Currency: United States Dollar

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