Brown and White Tepary Bean

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The namesake of both the brown and the white Tepary bean is pawi, the Papago Indian word for bean, and further, t’pawi—meaning ‘it is a bean.’ The Tepary plant is adapted to the dry conditions of the American southwest; it is drought-resistant and able to mature on a single irrigation or thunderstorm downpour. The plant also holds up well against disease. Before arriving on US soil, the Tepary bean had a rich cultural history that stretched back more than six thousand years in the arid landscape of Mexico. Both the brown and the white versions of the Tepary have a rich and nutty flavor. The beans are shelled and dried before use and are cooked into many traditional southwestern stews and casserole-like dishes as well as a ground Pinole. The Hopi Indians use the white Tepary beans to break a traditional fast by placing the beans under the hot sand and cooking them with salt water. The beans vary in color and shape; they are oval, flattish or round and vary between a fleshly white, speckled brown, reddish-brown, or purplish-brown color. For their very small size they offer an exceptional nutritional value. While these miniature beans have a quick crop yield, they are also very difficult to harvest due to their small size and thin skins, which split open upon touch, scattering the beans.

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StateUnited States

Southwestern US

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