Yard-long beans, or asparagus beans, are at the peak of their season right now, which runs from late Summer to early Fall, with the exception of places such as California and Mexico where they grow year-round. They've been springing up in local farmers markets, but you can also find them at most Asian grocery stores. Do you know much about these leggy legumes, which are a relative of the black-eyed pea? To find out what to look for,


  • Choose long, slender, smooth, firm pods that can easily be snapped in half. This indicates that the long beans are young.
  • Avoid beans that are noticeably bulging, or have too many blemishes. These beans may be overly developed and old.
  • The pale green bean is meatier and sweeter than darker yard-long bean varieties.
  • Store refrigerated in a plastic bag for two to five days.

Some preparation ideas:

  • Stew with tomato sauce.
  • Boil and drain, then season with lemon juice, oil, and salt and pepper.
  • Simmer in oil with garlic.
  • Cut into small cubes and add to stir-fries or omelette scrambles.
  • Deep-fry the beans and toss with Vietnamese fish sauce, chili sauce, or Chinese fermented black beans.

Have you tried long beans? What is your favorite preparation?