Ancestors of the O’odham–the Desert People and their relatives the Pima or River People–more than 4000 years ago, were gathering wild tepary beans (ba:wi) from the mountains in what we now call the US/Mexico borderlands. They found a way to cultivate these precious beans in summer floodwater gardens and eventually domesticated them! Tia Marta here hailing the gift ba:wi (Phaseolus acutifolius) is to the world–especially in hot, dry climates!
When a chilly storm sets in in the desert, tepary beans can warm the soul and body.
The most important ingredient in cooking teparies is TIME, t-i-m-e. Plan ahead by soaking your teparies the day before, for at least 8-10 hours. To hasten the soaking process, you could bring a pound of teparies and about 8-10 cups water to a quick boil then let them sit in the same water for several hours. Drain the soaking water and add 8-10 cups good drinking water for cooking. Bring to a boil then simmer (adding more water if needed) for up to 2-3 hours until beans test soft–just beyond al dente. At this point you can create anything with your cooked teparies. Good hearty soups can be the first satisfying treat.
It’s worth being reminded–mentally jolted–that teparies’ gift of super-nutrition is off the charts: One fifth of a tepary serving is protein! Their slowly-digested complex carbs measure 22% Daily Value and their dietary fiber is a whopping 100%-173%–both acting as perfect balancers of blood-sugar and digestive support. When it comes to important minerals, consider tepary’s iron at 20-30%; calcium for bones at 20-25%; magnesium 10-40% and potassium 48% as electrolytes and body building blocks.
You can dress teparies up or down with garlic, chiles mild or picante, cumin seed, toasted onions, oregano, cilantro, cheeses, or even a ham hock–variations are endless. Check out archived recipe ideas by writing “tepary” in the search box above.
You can find our delectable red-and-white Native American Tepary Mix in person at Tucson’s amazing Mission Garden Wednesdays thru Saturdays, 8am-2pm (come masked for a special socially distanced experience). The Native American Tepary Mix is also available online at NativeSeedsSEARCH, and www.flordemayoarts.com. Individual tepary bean colors are available from Ramona Farms and NativeSeedsSEARCH.
Happy tepary tasting–to your good health!