The Saluggia bean is a variety of Pheseolus vulgaris of very small dimensions grown in the municipality of Saluggia and in small portions of land in surrounding municipalities including Livorno Ferraris, Cigliano and Crescentino.
The stalk of the plant reaches a maximum of 50/55 centimeters and it has a compact bush; its flowers are white and reach large dimensions. The pods are cylindrical and curved and are white/yellow with red streaks.
The Saluggia bean is sown after the cultivation of barley, thus in June and July; it is harvested in September. After harvesting it is dried, since the beans are sold dry.
The beans are placed under the sun outdoors to dry when weather conditions allow this. If this is not possible a traditional dryer is used keeping the temperature low. After this phase an initial cleaning is done to separate the coarser impurities and any foreign objects like pebbles or soil.
The presence of the Saluggia bean is mentioned in some historical sources dating back to 1535 and it still plays an important role in the local economy.
It was the base of the diet of people who live in the province of Vercelli; the Saluggia bean is used in some traditional dishes of the area such as fagioli in pignatta alla Saluggiese, a type of bean soup or in Panissa, a type of risotto, symbol of the cuisine of this province.
Image: © Marco del Comune & Oliver Migliore