There has been some discussion here on BLF -- but not much.
There are a seriously wonderful vegetable.
I raise their flag now because my vine is still producing. And a well behaved vine it is too. Won't go feral. Requiring remarkably little space for its productivity.
If you are not familiar with Winged Beans here's the drum:
The entire winged bean plant is edible. The leaves, flowers, roots, and bean pods can be eaten raw or cooked; the pods are edible even when raw and unripe. The seeds are edible after cooking. Each of these parts contains vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron, among other nutrients. The tender pods, which are the most widely eaten part of the plant, are best when eaten before they exceed 2.5 cm (1.0 in) in length. They are ready for harvest within three months of planting. The flowers are used to colour rice and pastry. The young leaves can be picked and prepared as a leaf vegetable, similar to spinach. The nutrient-rich, tuberous roots have a nutty flavour. They are about 20% protein; winged bean roots have more protein than many other root vegetables. The leaves and flowers are also high in protein (10–15%).
The seeds are about 35% protein and 18% fat. They require cooking for two to three hours to destroy the trypsin inhibitors and hemagglutinins that inhibit digestion. They can be eaten dried or roasted. Dried and ground seeds make a useful flour, and can be brewed to make a coffee-like drink.
Unfortunately Winged Bean grown from seed can be a bugger to get going but scarification and soaking is recommended. See the DIY here. They may also be slow in the early growth period...
And then, they take off. Albeit when it suits them.
I also found this confusing bit of info:
Basically, growing winged beans is a very similar process to growing bush snap beans. The Asian winged bean seeds are difficult to germinate and must be scarified first or soaked in water overnight prior to planting. ...Winged beans need short, cool days to promote blooming; however, they are frost sensitive. In south Florida they are grown in winter; farther north the shorter, yet, frost-free days of fall are more ideal. The plants grow best in hot, wet climates with 60-100 inches of rain or irrigation per year and are, thus, not a good crop prospect for many regions of the United States.
Reaching 3 metres, but compared to other climbers they are not greedy as to space requirements as they are compact in their growth.
While a perennial, Winged Bean is commonly grown as an annual.
I've been experimenting with a few varieties of 'pole' beans and I reckon these darlins are up there as the most useful and productive beans to grow.
Whereas other pole beans will lose so much texture and favour if not picked daily, Winged Bs keep their taste longer on the vine. And they crop unevenly so that your harvest is easily staggered.
(Although that's not Elaine's experience...)
One or two vines should suffice for normal domestic needs.
The bigger the bean the more chance that some bitterness and stringiness may set in. Always crisp they are very versatile in the kitchen as they serve not only as a green bean -- like other legumes -- but as a crispy vegetable for soups and stir fries.
I like to chop them roughly for soup.
I've eaten all of my harvest(but there is more coming), so I haven't frozen any -- so I cannot rule on that option.