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Know your Tepary bean

Know your Tepary bean - Introduction

  • The Tepary bean, Phaseolus acutifolius, is native to the south-western United States and Mexico and has been grown there by the native peoples since pre-Columbian times. 
  • It is more drought-resistant than the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) and is grown in desert and semi-desert conditions from Arizona through Mexico to Costa Rica. 
  • The water requirements are low and the crop will grow in areas where annual rainfall is less than 400 mm (16 inches). 
  • It has recently been introduced to African agriculture.

Know your Tepary bean - Common names

  • Other names for this native bean include Papago BeanPawi, Pavi, Tepari, Escomite, Yori mui and Yori muni
  • The name tepary may derive from the Tohono O'odham phrase t'pawi or "It's a bean".

Know your Tepary bean - Cuisine

  • Tepary beans are cooked like other dry beans after soaking. 
  • Some Native Americans toasted the dry beans, then ground them into a meal which was mixed with water before eating.
  • Recent studies from the United States and Mexico suggest that lectin toxins and other compounds from tepary beans may be useful as chemotherapy for treating cancer. However, further research is needed.
  • It is an ingredient in the Indian snacks 'bhujia' and Punjabi Tadka by Haldiram.