There’s a trend these days for office workers living in Seoul to get out of the city and into the countryside for a weekend getaway where they can get in tune with nature and perhaps do some work on a farm. (good experience for people who are contemplating a change of career) I think farming would be pretty hard work as a full time job but it is relaxing to get out of the city for a few days. Since we spent the Chuseok weekend with my parents-in-law in the countryside, we did a TINY bit of work on the vegetable farm. And I mean TINY. My only task was to pick beautiful beans out of their pods. And that was a fun job.
The farm is away from the main road where the only passing vehicles are occasional tractors. Many of the pathways and streets are lined with these pinky Cosmos flowers at this time of year.
My parents-in-law don’t use pesticides on their vegetables and are now experimenting with scarecrows! The sesame plants have been harvested (below).
And the perilla or ‘wild sesame’ (below left) will be harvested soon and the seeds made into oil.
Acorns were spread around the grounds on large pieces of cloth drying in the sun. When acorns fall from the tree they are dried and then made into a powder which can then be used to make dotorimuk- acorn jelly.
The only job we did was to pick beans from their pods, which was quite a therapeutic job – breaking open the pods and plucking out the perfectly shaped beans.
In Korean cooking beans are used in various sweet and savoury dishes. Mung beans (above) are used to make binddaedeok mung bean pancakes. Mung bean sprouts (not to be confused with soy beans) can be used for the side dish sukjunamul.
Looking at these perfect, colourful works of art makes me happy. Before breaking open the bean pod it’s anybody’s guess if the beans are going to be a delicate lilac, deep purple, rich burgundy, or baby pink.
If only all farm work were this easy and fun. (But I have a feeling that it isn’t 😕 ) A handful of beans can be be added to white rice and cooked together in the rice cooker for some added nutrition.
So we came home with a rucksack full of homegrown vegetables from the garden. But I won’t have to do much cooking for a while as we came back with lots of leftover food from Chuseok too.