Now Sowing: Tepary Beans (Jul~Aug)

Tepary Beans in the catalog, opens a new window

Common Name: Beans, Tepary (Phaseolus acutifolius)

Seed Saving Level: Easy

Planting: Directly sow ½-1 inch deep in full sun. Beans do not transplant well. Teparies are drought tolerant and grow under extremely dry, hot weather conditions and alkali soil. Trellis support is needed for these annual vines. Plants should be thinned to 3 inches for both food and seed production.

Watering: Keep the soil damp, but not wet, until all seeds have germinated (4-8 days). After the seedlings come up, water every 3 days. Once   he plants are 8 inches tall, water the root area only when they look thirsty (droopy or limp);   over watering will limit bean production.   

Seed Saving:  Primarily self-pollinated, pods are ready for harvest when some are dry and the remainder have turned yellow, about 6 wks after pods were of fresh-eating quality. Cure pods for  1-2 wks in a warm, dry place. After fully cured, shell seeds carefully. If damaged, they will produce inferior plants or not germinate at all. Winnow to remove chaff.

Sources: Complete Guide to Saving Seeds (2011) by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Goughm, Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners (2002) by Suzanne Ashworth,

Recipe: Brown Bean Chili


  • 2 cups brown tepary beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
  • 2 whole ancho chiles (dried poblanos)
  • 2 oz dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms, crumbled into smallish pieces
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and  diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • ½ tsp smoked sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼-⅛ tsp chipotle chile powder
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste
  • 1 package seitan (optional)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp molasses or dark brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooked brown rice, for serving


Drain soaked beans and rinse. Place in an oil-sprayed Dutch oven or heavy soup pot with ancho chiles, mushrooms, and 4 c water. Bring to boil, lower the heat to a simmer. Cook, covered over very low heat, about 1 ½ hrs. in small, dry, heavy skillet, toast cumin seeds over med heat stirring frequently, until darkened and fragrant, about 3 min. Heat oil in a large skillet over med heat. Add onion and sauté until wilted, about 4 min. Add bell pepper and sauté for 3-4 min more. Lower heat, add garlic, and sauté until fragrant, 1 min more. Remove skillet from heat and add reserved cumin seeds and paprika, cocoa, chipotle powder, and cinnamon. Scrape mixture into bean pot and stir.

Bring beans to a boil. Stir in the sweet potatoes, sun-dried tomato paste, seitan, honey, molasses, salt, and a generous amount of black pepper. Lower heat to simmer and cook, half-covered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, 20-25 min. If you can find the anchos, pull out, remove and discard stems, transfer to a food processor, along with a generous ladleful of beans to make a smooth, thick paste. Add puree to chili and stir. Serves 6-8 accompanied by rice.

Source: Bean by Bean (2011) by Crescent Dragonwagon