Seriously, yes, sort of. They exist and I can only wonder why on Earth I didn't know sooner. Talk about simple. I am a little upset that I have wasted so much time every year clearing a planting area, fertilizing, and planting seeds to grow my beans. Why not plant something once and enjoy the benefits for years to come? This is just common sense! Well, it is common sense if it actually works out that way. I intend to try this spring though!
These special 'perennial' beans are called scarlet runner beans, but buyer beware! If you don't purchase the correct latin name for the perennial version you will find yourself planting every year as usual. This is exactly what I did the first time I purchased the beans. Foolish me for not doing my research first (one of the things about me I usually am very good at).
You want to buy the Phaseolus Coccineus - not Phaseolus Vulgaris - both of which are titled Scarlet Emperor Runner beans and look EXACTLY the same but aren't.
The Coccineus beans are supposed to grow back every year as a perennial. However, if you aren't careful they can die off in the winter and act like an annual anyway. I read that if you live in zone 7 or greater it's important to mulch over it in the winter to increase the chances of it surviving to come back in the spring.
The vines grow beautiful orange flowers that many simply like as an ornamental. In fact the flowers are so lovely that they are known to attract hummingbirds!
I read that the beans grow rather large and the outsides become rough so if we want to eat them like a string bean (which we do) that it is best to pick them early. However, all is not lost if they do get big because they can be harvested for the beans inside the pod which can be dried and used (eaten) in a variety of ways.
I will plant them for the first time this spring in zone 7 and get back to you this time next year to let you know how they worked out!
Some other basic information:
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I seriously can't believe I am saying this: "I love my cast iron skillet." I really do, and believe me,I never thought I would ever even consider using cast iron!
Using cast iron was really sort of an accident for me. Cast iron is a pan that I have never even attempted to cook with. In fact, my go to pots and pans have always been stainless steel. But if you have ever had to sit and scrub and scrub and scrub to get a pan clean then you know what I mean when I say stainless can be a real pain in the $%#. I have also been through multiple skillets coated with teflon. I say multiple because never has a skillet lasted more than a year in my house before the teflon started to come off. Thats how often we use the skillet! More recently we were buying and using Green pans. They have a ceramic coating that is much healthier than using teflon and they did last a little longer. The big downside however was the price. Not cheap by any means and still needed to be replaced after a lot of use.
Cast iron was never an option for me. I didn't even consider it because I always thought it was cheap, horrible to cook on, and even more horrible to clean. I imagined needing to literally scrape eggs off the bottom of the pan and never really getting it clean....ever. So imagine my surprise when my daughter and future son-in-law cooked a meal for 8 people using ALL cast iron pans and I volunteered (unknowingly) to do the dishes! As soon as I saw what I had volunteered to wash I groaned and did my best to go at it with a smile on my face....only to find out how easy they all were to clean!! In fact, they were easier to clean than the Green pans I had at home which were supposed to be non-stick! After the simplicity of cleaning those cast iron pans that night, and eating amazing food that was perfectly cooked in them, I was 'sold' on how awesome cast iron can be!
I immediately purchased my first cast iron skillet and I have never looked back! I absolutely love cooking in the pan and am able to cook certain foods like steak and chicken indoors better than ever! I have since added more cast iron pans to my list of must have's for the future.
Here is a simple list of why I love my cast iron skillet so much:
Some of the cons:
Even the 'cons' aren't so bad!
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Welcome! I'm Kathie, an educated, happily married mother and step-mother to four adult children. I wholeheartedly believe in creating and living a simpler, happier, and healthier life in this stressful and modern world! I work at creating a simpler life in ways that are as economically wise and environmentally conscious as possible. Please join me on my journey:-)