Organic Adzuki Beans
Adzuki Beans as a Garden Plant
Adzuki plants have similar soil needs to that of soybeans, with neutral to alkaline soil pH. When spring soil temperatures are 60 degrees or more, direct seed adzuki bean seeds about 1.5 inches deep with about ½ a foot in between each seed in your garden. There is a risk for rot if the soil is too damp and cold, adzuki beans are not frost tolerant. Adzuki beans that are planted in warmer soil will also germinate much more quickly, around 10-14 days.
Regularly weed the soil as the adzuki plants are emerging to encourage healthy growth. Once the adzuki have grown larger they can effectively out-compete the weeds and shade them out. Adzuki beans can be eaten fresh, harvested directly from the vine, or used for their dried beans. If being utilized for their dry beans, adzuki beans will be ready to harvest from 3 to 4 months after planting when the beans rattle in the pod. Each dried pod will contain 7-10 dried beans inside. The shelled and dried adzuki beans should be stored in a sealed container in a cool, dry area until you are ready to use them.
Traditionally, adzuki beans are used in Japanese desserts. The slight sweetness of adzuki combined with the pleasantly grainy texture they have when ground make adzuki perfectly suited for sweet bean paste, as filling for cakes, or flavoring ice cream. They can also be cooked and paired with rice for a complete plant protein, added to soups and curries, eaten as candied beans, or be the main ingredient for a bean salad.
- Rice and beans
- Traditional desserts
The adzuki bean (Vigna angularis) has been grown for hundreds of years in East Asia. It is thought that the domesticated adzuki beans originated in China and then made its way to Japan, where it is used in a multitude of dishes and often written about in Japanese literature. Adzuki beans are also grown in China, near the Yangtze River Valley, and in Korea, the Philippines, New Zealand, Taiwan, India, and Thailand. The quality of the adzuki beans is of the utmost importance because they are processed very little before being added to various dishes.
Ground adzuki beans have even been used as part of Japanese women’s beauty routines for centuries. The ground beans would be placed in a silk bag and used as an exfoliant over the whole body. The manganese present in adzuki beans acts as a great antioxidant to curtail free radicals from pollution and other chemicals, resulting in healthy skin protection.
Adzuki beans have high levels of magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, and copper. Adzuki beans are rich in protein and fiber, both of which are necessary components of a healthy diet. Some find that adzuki beans are easier to digest than other legumes, so consider incorporating adzuki beans into your diet even if other beans pose a digestive challenge.