Lab Labs

The Girls! Whenever I think of Labs I think of our dogs Yana & Yula and, although this post is not about them, I thought you might appreciate a photo anyway. Any excuse to show off our adorable girls!009                                                                                                                    Now back to the other Lab Labs or, more precisely, Dolichos lablab ‘Ruby Moon’ or Lablab purpureus ‘Ruby Moon’ which is another ‘first’ for me this year. Not quite sure which genus and species is correct as both are listed as a synonym of each other. It was offered in the Plant Heritage seed exchange and when I investigated further it was described variously as an attractive ornamental climber and a climbing ‘edible’ bean, both of which turned out to be partly true.002                                                                                                                       It was a cinch to germinate in exactly the same way as climbing French beans, it twines its way rapidly up any support to about 3 metres high. The pods are a deep purple to maroon color on the outside and a bright, vivid green on the inside. They are malleable and lie flatter against the seed, like Sugar Snap peas. Immature beans are edible, though they may not taste as good as most other beans. The pods contain toxic cyanogenic glucosides, antimicrobial agents the plant produces that create a bitter taste in defence against hungry herbivores. Lablab beans have to be very carefully prepared, otherwise they can be poisonous. They are not recommended for consumption. The mature beans must be boiled and drained several times in order to rid the bean of its toxin. Ruby Moon beans will lose their colour when cooked, and turn a more modest green. 004
Native to Africa,  lablab beans are grown in both south-east Asia and eastern Africa as a pulse crop for both animal and human consumption, but if you don’t mind I won’t be trying it myself, or the dogs!

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