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Question from my son: "What bean makes the largest seed?"

 
steward
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My son wants to know what beans (like green bean-type of bean) that makes the largest bean seed.

I don't think it's limited to just Phaseolus vulgaris "green beans"--things like runner beans or other beans that can be eaten like green beans, would probably count.

My husband is having no look searching google for an answer, so I thought I'd search the brains of permies for an answer!
 
Rocket Scientist
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Why Nicole;   It would be the bean that Jack had...
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thomas rubino wrote:Why Nicole;   It would be the bean that Jack had...



Baseless speculation! No reason to assume the beans were large just because the vine was!

And now that I've typed that, it sounds like the punchline to an obscene joke... oh well.
 
Nicole Alderman
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thomas rubino wrote:Why Nicole;   It would be the bean that Jack had...



Ah, but that's the PLANT. Jack's magic beans seemed to be the same size as other bean seeds. He's--for some reason--interested just in the size of the bean seed.
 
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I know you said green bean types, but my first thought was Butter Beans. They are about the size of a half dollar sometimes.
 
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I would say butter bean, I expect you can eat them when they are green, or Broad beans (fava) they can also be eaten when small and green.
 
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Aside from favas, I'd say scarlet runners. They have some pretty monstrous seeds.
 
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Phil Stevens wrote:Aside from favas, I'd say scarlet runners. They have some pretty monstrous seeds.



In Greece, they have some giant beans called "Gigantes" and it seems they are also a type of runner bean (they are made into a dish which you get in any Greece restaurant, and this type of bean is also very popular in Turkey so it is easy to get the dried pulses in the ethnic food section or the small Turkish grocery shops downtown Munich).

Probably the Gigantes is the same variety I am growing which is called "White Giant" (with white flowers). The seeds get really big, but probably not as big as in Greece with warmer weather.
ETA: I just read that the Fasolia Gigantes is a protected name of origin for this bean which is cultivated in some Northern Greece regions.

Here in Central Europe those white runner beans and the fava beans are the biggest we can grow.
It is too cold for Lima/butter beans.
 
pollinator
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Truthfully i don't know much about beans but I do know there are different varieties of Fava beans and I have seen some as big as a quarter.
 
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the butter beans are quite big... taste great too..
they are used in dishes at a local vegan rastafarian restaurant

here are a couple more, which if they are grown for novelty alone
might get bigger

Entada gigas  Sea Heart

"A large, vigorous vine in the legume family, native to the tropical Americas and Africa. While its robust stems and pinnate foliage are not unattractive, its most notable feature are its giant seed pods that can reach a length of 2 m and hold up to 15 large, glossy, dark brown, heart shaped seeds. The seeds float and can be distributed by ocean currents over large distances, which probably accounts for its curious distribution pattern."

another similar plant is:
Dioclea reflexa  Sea Bean

"An attractive climber found in coastal forests along tropical seashores worldwide. The large, attractive seeds are called sea beans and are distributed by ocean currents. Often found washed up on seashores, they are popular to make natural jewelry."

descriptions from the rare palm seeds website
 
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Anita Martin wrote:In Greece, they have some giant beans called "Gigantes" and it seems they are also a type of runner bean (they are made into a dish which you get in any Greece restaurant, and this type of bean is also very popular in Turkey so it is easy to get the dried pulses in the ethnic food section or the small Turkish grocery shops downtown Munich).

Probably the Gigantes is the same variety I am growing which is called "White Giant" (with white flowers). The seeds get really big, but probably not as big as in Greece with warmer weather.
ETA: I just read that the Fasolia Gigantes is a protected name of origin for this bean which is cultivated in some Northern Greece regions.

Here in Central Europe those white runner beans and the fava beans are the biggest we can grow.
It is too cold for Lima/butter beans.


I picked up some large white runner bean selections from Seed Savers that are nice.  Here's pictures of the dried seeds that I got.  The central selection had the largest seeds as they were thicker/more solid than the selection on the left.  The person listing these said they can be up to 1.75" long in the shelly stage!  Gigandes Seed Savers Listing
20201009_090931.jpg
White runner beans from Seed Savers members
White runner beans from Seed Savers members
 
pollinator
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I think Jack Beans (Canavalia ensiformis) are probably the biggest I've ever seen, but they're hard to find seeds for. There's a runner bean variety called "Folsom Indian Ruin" sold by Seed Treasures that's big, even compared to other runner beans.

Scarlet Runner is probably the biggest widely-available variety.

When comparing bean sizes, look for a catalog that tells you the number of seeds per ounce. The smaller the number, the bigger the seed.
 
Anita Martin
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Greg Martin wrote:
I picked up some large white runner bean selections from Seed Savers that are nice.  Here's picks of the dried seeds that I got.  The central selection had the largest seeds as they were thicker/more solid than the selection on the left.  The person listing these said they can be up to 1.75" long in the shelly stage!  Gigandes Seed Savers Listing


Interesting. We have something similar to Seed Savers here.
Those beans do indeed look like the gigantes you get in Greek restaurants.

Inspired by this thread I picked some of the dried beans yesterday (the shells have mostly dried by now) and soaked them. Today I cooked them with tomatoes, garlic, onions, parsley and oregano to eat with homemade bread. Even my son who is not a big veggie eater said they tasted delicious.
I have got pics but on my phone. The biggest seeds after cooking were about 3 cm (over an inch).
 
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My dried Christmas lima beans measure slightly over an inch. My wife says that canned butter beans come larger and smaller than than the Christmas beans but when I pointed out that the Christmas Lima's we were looking at were dry she gave up.
 
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Dr Martin's Lima is a pretty good size!

 
Greg Martin
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I'm germination testing these dried beans I bought.  Here they are after soaking them....averaging about 1.6" long!  They seem to be out of this variety at the moment as well as the other runner bean types they have but I'm happy to send you some of these too Nicole if of interest.

Update:  These finished swelling out to 1.75".  I did a germination test planting and 11 out of 12 shot up and grew very vigorously....good planting stock confirmation.  
20210415_062027.jpg
Royal Corona runner beans from Rancho Gordo
Royal Corona runner beans from Rancho Gordo
 
pollinator
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The biggest I have seen is the Shinshu Runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus). I haven't grown any myself but I've been thinking about getting some to try.

Originating in Japan, these will climb to make a large bush to 12 feet tall (with trellis), very green from spring to frost, dotted with intense red flowers, remaining bushy and vital long past the time that standard pole beans have started to look scraggly. Edible as a green bean or soup bean.

Shinshu_bean_hand_600.jpg
[Thumbnail for Shinshu_bean_hand_600.jpg]
Shinshu_pods_seeds_500.jpg
[Thumbnail for Shinshu_pods_seeds_500.jpg]
 
Greg Martin
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Those are lovely Logan!  Another bean added to my wish list.
 
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Basset hounds.

I don''t
t have the photographs to prove it, but they are SHAPED like beans.

The viable ones,.

The LARGEST EDIBLE BEAN is luvapottamus.

Not edible.

You are not allowed to eat the most edible big bean.



 
Greg Martin
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Thanks to Logan's post I tracked down some Shinshu runner beans from Peace Seedlings and soaked them to prep for planting.  1.75" and plump!!!  I love them.
20210514_101737.jpg
I have big hands....good thing!
I have big hands....good thing!
20210514_101708.jpg
Shinshu runner beans measuring out at 1.75
Shinshu runner beans measuring out at 1.75
 
pollinator
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Greg Martin wrote:Thanks to Logan's post I tracked down some Shinshu runner beans from Peace Seedlings and soaked them to prep for planting.  1.75" and plump!!!  I love them.



Wow those are huge! I have bean envy! 😮
 
Greg Martin
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Jen Tuuli wrote:

Greg Martin wrote:Thanks to Logan's post I tracked down some Shinshu runner beans from Peace Seedlings and soaked them to prep for planting.  1.75" and plump!!!  I love them.



Wow those are huge! I have bean envy! 😮


I know, I ate one and now I'm full!!!  
(kidding....every one of them is getting planted!)

There weren't many in a pack.  If they manage to produce for me in my season length I'll shoot some of them over to you Jen.
 
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Not really a bean, but it sure looks like one :-)

 
Logan Byrd
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I'm interested in seeing how they do for you! I'm one zone warmer, so if they produce for you then I'll definitely pick some up.
 
Greg Martin
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Logan Byrd wrote:I'm interested in seeing how they do for you! I'm one zone warmer, so if they produce for you then I'll definitely pick some up.


Since you turned me on to them Logan then I'd be happy to shoot some over to you if they make it for me.  If they don't then I'll have to try and add them to a large bean landrace since runners outcross so kindly and see how large a bean we can have in shorter season areas.
 
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M. Phelps wrote:

Dioclea reflexa  Sea Bean  

A friend of mine brought some home from the tropics a few years ago and decided to try growing it last year, and yes, it germinated and grew and looked like a bean. She moved it inside for the winter, but I'd have to ask her if it made it. It was still alive in January.

Those large beans certainly make my Scarlet Runner bean seeds look small in comparison. I just measured one of the larger ones in my jar and it was approximately 1 inch. (too lazy to get the calipers out).

However, just to warn all you people who think "big is better", in my climate (and possibly Nicole's) getting really large seeds to dry enough to store can be an issue. Most people figure the seeds and pods will dry on the plant, but with my heavy dew, that's iffy. I don't want to use my food dryer, as I wouldn't want to risk too high a temperature. This meant I had trays of beans strewn around my living room. I need one of those frames I can lift to near the ceiling! It's worth it though, as Scarlet Runner Bean Dip is awesome with my home-grown baked garlic.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Jay Angler wrote:M. Phelps wrote:

Dioclea reflexa  Sea Bean  

A friend of mine brought some home from the tropics a few years ago and decided to try growing it last year, and yes, it germinated and grew and looked like a bean. She moved it inside for the winter, but I'd have to ask her if it made it. It was still alive in January.

Those large beans certainly make my Scarlet Runner bean seeds look small in comparison. I just measured one of the larger ones in my jar and it was approximately 1 inch. (too lazy to get the calipers out).

However, just to warn all you people who think "big is better", in my climate (and possibly Nicole's) getting really large seeds to dry enough to store can be an issue. Most people figure the seeds and pods will dry on the plant, but with my heavy dew, that's iffy. I don't want to use my food dryer, as I wouldn't want to risk too high a temperature. This meant I had trays of beans strewn around my living room. I need one of those frames I can lift to near the ceiling! It's worth it though, as Scarlet Runner Bean Dip is awesome with my home-grown baked garlic.



This is one reason I have never tried to save bean seeds. Things don't really dry here. We have lots of overnight dew, even in the heat of summer. And, since we're north-facing and surrounded by trees, our sunlight is greatly decreased by September. I often have late blight on my tomatoes in mid-August, due to all the damp.

But, we did plant the beans Greg sent! My son was really excited about them and happily planted them in his garden. Were're really excited to see how they do! Thank you, Greg!
 
Greg Martin
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Fingers crossed for him Nicole!  I'm hoping they do ok here too, but we shall see.  Will be fun to compare notes this fall.

Jay, have you tried the rice trick?  It's not just for cell phones!  You put rice in the oven at 250F to dry it out completely, then let it cool and mix your seeds that you're trying to dry in the rice.  If you're humidity is super high you can pour the hot rice into large jar to keep it from absorbing moisture while it cools if you like.  This way you separate the water removal heat step from your precocious seeds.
 
Jay Angler
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@Greg Martin - no, I hadn't heard of that trick. It makes sense though and I may try it this fall. (I hadn't heard about it for cell phones either!)
 
Logan Byrd
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If your indoor conditions are better, I've had good luck with snipping off bean pods when they start to ripen/dry and then hanging them from some fishing line indoors.

Mung beans are the ones I've found the easiest to save in my limited bean experience, since the pod starts to turn black as it dries out.
 
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Jen Tuuli wrote:

Greg Martin wrote:Thanks to Logan's post I tracked down some Shinshu runner beans from Peace Seedlings and soaked them to prep for planting.  1.75" and plump!!!  I love them.



Wow those are huge! I have bean envy! 😮



That beats Kentucky Coffetree.

Doesn't beat Basset hounds though.

I can't find stock photo....but My dog is bean shaped....when it lays down sideways.

LOL
 
Ellendra Nauriel
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Greg Martin wrote:Thanks to Logan's post I tracked down some Shinshu runner beans from Peace Seedlings and soaked them to prep for planting.  1.75" and plump!!!  I love them.



I just got mine, too! It's late enough I'll wait until next year to plant them, but boy, these are monsters!!!
Giant-Beans.jpg
Shinshu, with a quarter and a Scarlet Runner bean for scale
Shinshu, with a quarter and a Scarlet Runner bean for scale
 
Greg Martin
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Rancho Gordo has their giant white runner bean, Royal Corona, back in stock in case anyone missed it.
Royal Corona beans by the pound
I will attest to them being good eats!
Not sure how long a growing season they require.  Will find out this year hopefully.  They are off and climbing in my garden.
 
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does anybody have a photo of a shinshu bean plant?
 
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After reading through most of this thread I hunted for more info about this Shinshu bean. Two of the recommended options were from this thread!

What is the flavor of this gigantic bean?

Also, while I see that some have been sent on to Nicole's son for further experimentation, which I applaud, I'd like to suggest that further experimentation can be done by her inquisitive son by sending along a few of whatever you have to suggest as being a very large bean by mail. Working out how to do that without giving out such personal stuff as a mailing address, perhaps Paul could be the initial receiver and send the submissions along? That is what I would want to do if I were the child wanting an answer!

Now I want some Shinshu beans, thank you!!
Happy day to all.
 
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