I hope this video will make you excited about beans. I know they're not always easy to get excited about. They're not all that glamorous (well, unless you're Sean Brock, in which case they will match your tattoos and look like a work of art), and you may not find them all that inspiring, at first glance. But when you get to know them, or grow them, you see that there's a kind of magic about beans. There are colors and patterns and dots and lines and all sorts of shapes and sizes, varying levels of shine and smoothness… some beans almost glow. I can get completely lost in the bean section of a seed catalogue, especially at this time of year, when dreams of gardening start to tug at my heart on these cold cold days.
There's no doubt that I got my bean enthusiasm from my mom. She grew many varieties in her garden, always trying new ones. Her eyes would sparkle when she talked about her favourites. She grew enough dry beans for us to eat through the winter months, always saving enough to plant again in the spring, or to share a few with gardening friends. In this video, you'll see one easy way to thresh a large amount of beans quickly. We used a box fan but a windy day is sometimes just as good. Of course, good old hand shelling is fun too, especially if you gather some friends or family to give you a hand.
This salad is made with our Black Coco Beans, which are big and meaty, almost velvety in texture. But any kind of black bean will do the trick. The salad is nourishing and bursting with flavour. You can't really go wrong with mango, avocado, sweet potato, cilantro and a lime cumin dressing. Unless you don't like some of those ingredients, of course, in which case feel free to swap them out for something that tickles your tastebuds.
You'll find my recipe over on PBS Food. I think you'll like it! Let me know if you make it...