Hyacinth Beans … ‘To eat or not to eat?’

I’m growing Hyacinth Beans for the first time after buying a pack of 7 seeds from Sutton Seeds (part of James Wong’s range). The flowers and pods look beautiful and the packet, most definitely states that they are edible, however I’m not convinced.  I’ve been reading far too much information contradicting the back of Mr Wong’s packet …20160409_1546241. Ornamental only

2. Poison!

3.Edible if boiled for 40minutes +

4. Edible if eaten very young

5. Some people may suffer adverse reactions to eating

 … to quote but a few!

I have looked through my library of gardening books and magazines. Nothing.  I even trawled through a variety of internet search engines (usually a font of knowledge) but I still can’t find any ‘solid’ information from a trustworthy source.

I really don’t want to serve up a deadly ‘bean feast’ to my family so perhaps I’ll plant these rather beautiful plants in the flower bed, as a precaution!!20160409_231045

Has anyone else grown these odd but beautiful beans? Have you eaten them?


16 thoughts on “Hyacinth Beans … ‘To eat or not to eat?’”

  1. extract from wikipedia entry (full link above)

    “The fruit and beans are edible if boiled well with several changes of the water.[14] Otherwise, they are toxic due to the presence of cyanogenic glycosides, glycosides that are converted to hydrogen cyanide when consumed. Signs of poisoning include weakness, vomiting, dyspnea, twitching, stupor, and convulsions.[14] It has been shown that there is a wide range of cyanogenic potential among the varieties.[15]

    The leaves are eaten raw or cooked like spinach.[10] The flowers can be eaten raw or steamed. The root can be boiled or baked for food. The seeds are used to make tofu and tempeh.[7]

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  2. PS … and while we’re on the subject …. Am I the only person to find James Wong REALLY annoying. And full of crap. ??? From the moment the burst onto our screens flogging the masterfully titled ‘grow your own drugs’ I’ve suspected him to be a bit of a charleton … Nobody in the UK calls medicines ‘drugs’. By drugs we usually mean naughty illegal substances – hence it was a sure seller! Too much of what he suggests simply doesn’t work, tastes horrible, or – as you are discovering here – is a little suspect for safety! I tried asparagus pea last year – vile! And cucamelons … just nasty. And the fancy names he sells us … inca berries; right, that would be physalis or cape gooseberry, grown for the last 30 years in my mum’s UK garden but now rebranded and sold to us by Mr Wong as something new. Grrrr. OK, I’m going now … point made … 🙂

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    1. Haha… I did exactly the same. Inca berries, cucamelons and asparagus peas. The grandchildren loved the cucamelons but the asparagus peas, I agree, were vile! The flowers are beautiful though 🙂 I have to admit that I enjoy reading the science info in his books but that’s my geeky side! lol I tested one of his ‘colour theories’ last year…I grew some strawberries planted through red plastic (and the same variety without). The ‘red plastics’ did grow much bigger but so did the weeds underneath!
      I put Mr Wong into the ‘curiosity’ section of my library…not to be taken too seriously but…a bit of fun (with a good dose of caution!) 😀

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  3. I notice that on the packet he likens them to ‘mangetout’ … I presume this means he is suggesting they should be eaten not as beans (podded when large) but as mangetout, picked and eaten when still small, whole with pod? I checked this out with a Royal Horticultural Society search, and they too advise eating this way (no mention of toxic risk). Still not sure I’m convinced … 😉 but if you all try them and survive, do let me know if they’re worth giving a go ! 😉


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    1. Ah now there’s a source I trust! Thank you… I can’t tolerate kidney beans so I’m thinking that I might give the ‘tasting’ of hyacinth beans a miss! Just in case… 🙂


      1. I am growing them to eat. I have to say I feel a lot better about it since I read that blog entry. I’ve read a lot of conflicting information. “They’re poisonous when raw.” They’re poisonous when cooked.” That entry was first hand information, with pictures.


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