I don’t have green fingers and can barely keep a house plant alive. So on my parents-in-law’s farm I am given simple tasks, like picking beans from their pods. It’s a therapeutic job.
And 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.
Beans are used quite a lot in Korean cooking, for sweet and savoury dishes.
Mung beans make binddaedeok mung bean pancakes. Mung bean sprouts (not to be confused with soy beans) can be used for the side dish sukjunamul.
And a handful of beans can be be added to white rice and cooked together in the rice cooker for some added nutrition.
My parents-in-law grow veggies just for family and friends on their farm. So they grow useful veg like the main ingredients of kimchi – napa cabbages, daikon radish, and chillies (the chillies are picked and dried and crushed into powder to add to the kimchi).
And then they grow lettuce, leeks, onions, chives, perilla, sesame, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peanuts, various beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, and corn on the cob.
In the garden there are chestnut trees, walnut trees, plum trees, persimmon trees, and apple trees.
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 in autumn.
In the mountains there are edible mushrooms. And wild bracken picked to make namul side dishes. When acorns fall from the trees they are spread out in the sun to dry and then ground and used to make acorn jello (tottori-muk 도토리묵)
Being able to eat home grown veggies is a luxury for city folk. I know we are very lucky.
And when city life is getting me down I take a look at these beans…