Long or Yard-Long Beans

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Long beans, sometimes called asparagus beans, do sometimes reach a yard/meter in length. They’re the thin, small-seeded pods of a subspecies of black-eyed pea, a native of Africa that was taken to Asia more than 2,000 years ago. Asian cultures already had a number of excellent seed legumes but no warm-climate vegetable legume, and it was India or China that developed the yard-long version of the black-eyed pea. These beans have a higher fiber content than common green beans and therefore a drier, firmer texture when cooked. They’re also sensitive to chilling (they keep best in the cold but deteriorate quickly if then left at room temperature).