Cajun French: la feve (la fev) – bean
Walking into Let It Grow in Cortez, CO a combination coffee house, plant nursery, market and café, we saw a large display of dried beans. Always attracted to beans of every type, we headed over and were amazed with the variety and names. Colorado River, Zuni Gold, Mortgage Lifter, Anasazi, Pinkeye and Cranberry were just a few of the beans available.
We have never given much thought to heirloom beans but we had just walked into a treasure trove of heirloom beans and wanted a bag of each. Although beans are a staple in our diet, one of each was not realistic. Oh but we can wish. Ok decision time, we chose Zuni Gold and Colorado River. Now the research begins.
Heirloom beans have been cultivated through thousands of years and have not been touched by genetic science or modern technology. These seeds have been handed down from generation to generation and are produced in local regions. It is said there are over 10,000 known varieties of heirloom beans and legumes; that is a lot of beans to try.
Colorado River bean is a small, brown to maroon speckled bean. Other names for them are Red Nightfall, Mayflower, Cutshort and Cornfield Bean. Once cooked the bean becomes a dark brown and the liquid is a rich brown color. Some research shows these vibrant colors of heirloom beans indicates a higher level of antioxidants.
Knowing we were going to use the beans in a salad, the beans were cooked in water seasoned with salt.
Mais C’est Bon!
3 cups cooked Colorado River Beans
½ cup bell pepper, chopped: ¼ cup yellow, ¼ cup orange
½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbl jalapeno, minced
½ cup tomatoes, chopped
½ cup cucumber, chopped
½ cup feta cheese
1 Tbl fresh mint, chopped
Salt and pepper
Chop all vegetables to desired size
In large bowl add 3 cups drained cooked beans
Add remaining vegetables, feta and mint
Add olive oil and cane vinegar to taste
Season to taste with salt and pepper
Serve as a salad or side dish
Serve over rice as an entrée
Serve in avocado half