Polish Eagle Bean

Ark of taste
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Polska fasola z orzełkiem

This is a Polish bean variety whose name means literally “Polish bean with eagle”: it is white with a distinctive red mark on its belly side reminiscent of the shape of an eagle; in some cases, there is even an added mark resembling a crown.

It is a unique product that had a considerable role in Polish history: as witnessed by several historical sources, in the 19th century, under Russian domination, this bean became the symbol of patriotism, not only because of the eagle as the Polish emblem but also because traditionally this bean had to be served on Christmas Eve as a patriotic duty. With that in mind, when growing this bean was prohibited by the Russian invaders, it managed to survive by being grown clandestinely, hidden among potato plants.

Forgotten for centuries, the “eagle bean” has reappeared in fields and on the market only recently thanks to the efforts of Zenon Szewczk, a Polish academic who rediscovered it and fell in love with this unusual variety. It was discovered in the Sądecczyzna region, south of the Malopolska in southern Poland, where it had been traditionally grown and eaten in preceding centuries.

This bean is also known by its other name, or “fasola niepodległości”, which in Polish means “independence bean”. Today this legume’s rediscovery comes with the attempt to celebrate it as a national dish to prepare on 11 November on the occasion of Polish independence.
In 2010, it was registered with the Agriculture Ministry and Polish rural development and entered on the list of local products.

It is a dwarf bean, easy to grow, even with no water.

The beans are smooth and oblong. Their taste is delicate, making it ideal for salads and as a side dish for meats and young wines.

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Nominated by:Anna Maria Ruminska