The Canavalia ensiformis, commonly known as the jack bean, is a type of legume that can be used for both feeding animals and human consumption. It is particularly known as “feijo-de-porco” in Brazil, which means “pig bean”.
The Jack bean is a strong, climbing plant that is often grown as an annual, it is known for its utility as fodder for animals. It has mildly toxic white seeds. It’s deep roots and fast growth make it suitable for xeriscaping in areas with summer rainfall. The plant has the ability to shoot up to a height of 2 meters in ideal growing conditions. It is an excellent crop rotation plant and being part of the legume family it helps to improve the soil nutrients.
It is a species of plant that belongs to the large Leguminosae (Fabaceae) family, which includes over 15,000 species of both cultivated and wild plants. It is native to tropical Africa, Central, and South America, from Mexico to Brazil and Peru, as well as the West Indies. Some of its common names include Sword Bean, Giant Stock-Bean, Wonder Bean, Gotani-Bean, Horse-Bean, Seaside-Bean, Chickasaw, Limabean, Overlook Bean, Sabre-Bean, Brazilian Broad Bean, Coffee Bean, Chickasaw Lima Bean, Ensiform Bean, Mole Bean, and Pearson Bean.
Health Benefits Of Jack Beans
The health benefits of jack beans are numerous and varied. Consuming jack beans can help reduce cancer risk, improve gut health, reduce weight, keep the heart healthy, increase muscle mass, boost the immune system, and improve skin health.
Jack beans are rich in antioxidants, which help protect cells from mutation and reduce inflammation, thus lowering the risk of cancer and other diseases. They are also high in fiber, which aids in the removal of toxins and waste products from the gut, preventing digestive issues such as constipation and abdominal distention.
Jack beans are low in fat and high in fiber, making them the perfect choice for weight loss. They are also a great source of non-animal protein, which helps speed up the metabolism and build muscle mass. Additionally, jack beans are a great source of vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system and keep the skin healthy and beautiful.
The regular consumption of jack beans can also help keep heart disease at bay. Being rich in fiber and antioxidants, jack beans help in lowering bad cholesterol levels and keeping blood pressure from rising. Overall, jack beans are a great addition to any diet. They can help reduce cancer risk, improve gut health, reduce weight, keep the heart healthy, increase muscle mass, boost the immune system, and improve skin health.
How To Harvest And Propagate Jack Beans
To harvest the seeds of the Jack bean, allow the pods to dry on the plant and then break them open to collect the seeds. It’s important to note that the seeds take 180-300 days to mature, so it’s important to be patient and plan accordingly. The best way to sow the seeds is after the last frost, or starting indoors in pots.
How To Cook And Eat Jack Beans
Jack beans are a versatile and nutritious food that can be eaten in a variety of ways. Very young seedpods, before the seeds swell within, can be eaten raw or cooked like French beans and used as a vegetable. Unripe seeds can be cooked and eaten like broad beans, while the roasted seed can be used as a coffee substitute.
Young leaves can be cooked and eaten like spinach, while in some tropical parts of the world, young leaves and green pods are used as vegetables. Young pods can be sliced and cooked or eaten raw, while young, tender pods can be processed into several kinds of pickles called Fukujin-zuke, Nukazuke, and Miso zuke in Japan.
Young leaves and flowers can be steamed and used as flavoring in Java, and seeds can be used as a substitute for coffee in Cuba. Overall, jack beans can be a nutritious and delicious addition to any meal.