In Australia, this bean is commonly known as snake bean. Why snake bean? I don't know either, I was shocked too when I was browing the seed catalogs. On other part of the world it is also known as yardlong bean, Chinese long bean or asparagus bean. In Malaysia and Indonesia, it is commonly call "kacang panjang" which literally translate as long bean (kacang~ bean, panjang~ long). It is a very common and cheap vegetables that you usually see them sell in bundles tightly held together with rubber band in the market. I wonder how much does a bundle of kacang panjang cost in Malaysia pasar/wet market nowadays? A lot of patience is required to grow kacang panjang. It takes a long season to grow before it produce it first bean, maybe at least more than 12~16weeks. However the harvesting season is pretty long compare with other bean and very prolific. In the tropics, this climbing plant can grow more than 5 metre long.
Our snake bean season is already over as the day and night temperature is too cold for them to produce normal looking bean and the bloom won't open as well. This is how our last snake bean look like. Instead of light green bean, the bean have red browinsh tinge on it, although it does not effect how it taste like.
Snake bean mauve bloom is always my favourite.
Some of our snake bean were growing at the most back of this veggie patch. We did not made a proper trellis for the snake bean let it climb all over sweet corn and tomato plants. When the plants need more space to grow, we haphazardly tied some string for it to crawl all over the patch. One thing interesting about snake bean to note is that the pods hang in pairs as shown in the photo.
Snake bean growing all over this patch.
Snake bean is also nice to cook with ommelete. It is one of the easiest dish in Malaysia for mothers to cook for their kids on a very busy day. Shaz author of this fabalous blog ~ Test With Skewar has bean omellete recipe. You can use other bean variety as well to cook this dish. CikManggis also has a recipe for bean omellete in her kitchen.
I did not collect any snake bean seeds this year, planned but I was greedy. Anyway we still have some left-over seeds. Our most favourite bean. Usually in Adelaide, snake bean season is over in May. We managed to freeze just a little, it will be next year if all goes well to harvest snake bean again.