The vine produces deep-ridged, four-sided pods, that have four leaves attached right to them, making it look as though the pods have wings, or as though they are ruffled. The leaves are 7.5 to 15 cm (3 to 6 inches) long, ending in a point.
The pods, which can be green, purple or reddish, are ready to harvest and eat within 3 months of planting.
The pods can be up to 50 cm (19 inches) long, but are better harvested when younger. When the pods are only 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) long, they can be eaten like green beans, raw or cooked.
The seeds inside are round and green when ripe.
Winged Beans have a starchy texture, and a taste somewhere between cranberry beans and green beans.
Underground, the vines grow tubers which can be harvested and cooked up like other starchy root vegetables. The tubers need at least 4 months of growth and will be 8 to 12 cm (3 to 4 inches) long, 2 to 4 cm (1 to 1 1/2 inches) wide.
The leaves of Winged Beans taste like spinach.
Winged Beans are grown in southern India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. It is not farmed, but rather grown mostly in home gardens. It is now being tried commercially in South Florida.
Wash, top and tail.
Mature Winged Beans seeds need to be boiled or stewed until tender.
Young Winged Beans, can be cooked as you would peas.
Winged Beans tubers are boiled, fried or baked. Peel after boiling.
1 cup young beans boiled and drained = 60 g = 2 oz
Keep fresh Winged Beans in the fridge in a plastic bag for up to 3 days.
Winged Beans are native to Papua New Guinea and were introduced into India in 1799.
Winged Beans are also sometimes called “Winged Pea” or “Asparagus Bean” or “Asparagus Pea”, though those names are also used to a European bean, which this is not the same as. Asparagus Bean is also used for Chinese Long Bean.
The Yard-long Bean is sometimes also called “asparagus bean.”