Harvest Monday, September 9, 2013 – Last Black Soybeans Update + Figs

In my Harvest Monday, August 19, 2013 post I mentioned that next year I will plant 2 different varieties of vegetable soybeans (a black and a green) to make side-by-side comparison for taste and texture at the young soybeans stage.

I do not have to wait until next year.

That Thursday, my garden friend Mary N of Mary’s Veggie Garden brought me a gift of young Tohya soybeans she just harvested from her Vassar farm garden so I could make a comparison now. I have such thoughtful friends.

It was good timing as I still had young black soybeans in the garden.

Soy beans (5658)

Left: Tohya Soybeans. Right: Black Soybeans
Top 2 rows: uncooked soy beans
Bottom 2 rows: cooked soy beans

To make proper comparison, I needed to cook both varieties in the same pot. In order to tell which is which, I chose, for the Tohya, the 3-beans pods and for the black, the 2-beans pods.

The verdict: The differences were very slight and I liked them both. Will definitely plant both varieties next year.

The Toyha had a more buttery texture and was a bit sweeter than the black. However that was not a true comparison as Mary’s soybeans were harvested at a less mature stage (the pods were filled out but still retained their bright green color and would be sweeter)compared to mine (my pods had started to show signs of yellowing). If I harvested mine while the pods were filled but still bright green, I believe the beans would have the same sweetness.

Johnny’s seed describes Toyha as: Early with delicious, buttery flavor and tender-firm texture.

Because Mary’s experience with toyha was positive, I am going to plant this variety next year.

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The photo below was posted on August 19, 2013.

Black soy beans (5603)

The 3 stages of young black soybeans
Click here and scroll down to learn more

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The photo below shows 3 stages of the black soybeans as they mature.

Black soybeans (5680)

Black soybeans
Left: pod is completely yellowed, beans are oval, soft and reddish brown
Center: pod is turning brown, beans are oval, soft and purple/black
Right: pod is dry, beans are round, hard and black

Placed the shelled beans from the above pods in a pot, covered with water, add a bit of salt and boiled for 7 minutes. The soft beans (from the left and center pods) had a creamy texture. The dried beans (from the right pods) were a bit hard in the center but still edible, which surprised me, as I thought for sure they would be rock hard. None of the beans had a strong soybean flavor, another surprise.

Will shell and save all the dried beans I have collected for planting next year.

Am going to devote a good portion of the garden to planting black soy beans next year so I can have a few pounds of soybeans (both young and dried) to experiment with.

◊ ◊ ◊

The following photo shows one day’s harvest, the best single day harvest. Shared with family and friends. Ate many as is. One day I overindulged and paid the price with a tummy ache. For a small fruit, they were packed with sweetness.

Figs (5627)


Not too many fruits left on the tree, may have another week of harvest. With summer coming to an end, doubt the many green ones on the tree will have time to ripen.

◊ ◊ ◊

Annuals (5654)

My patriotic garden
This is the scene that greets me every time I go up and down the driveway

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
This entry was posted in Flowers, Fruits, Gardening, Harvest Monday, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

74 Responses to Harvest Monday, September 9, 2013 – Last Black Soybeans Update + Figs

  1. Daphne says:

    Beautiful figs and soy beans. I wish my figs would ripen. I have some that have a bit of brown on them, but they don’t seem to be changing anymore. I have a feeling it is another year without figs. I’ll probably give them another year to try though.

  2. Just seeing the name Johnny’s Seeds brings me back to Maine. Their factory/business is just up the road from where I was raised. 🙂 Interesting about the sweetness of soy beans and the relative ripeness. I look forward to next year to see how it goes.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Maureen,
      Glad to know my post brought you back to your childhood home in Maine and took you on a pleasant trip down memory lane. I too am looking forward to next year’s soybeans planting.

  3. Annie says:

    Norma, you really got me inspired to plant more fig trees. Our family love figs..we planted 2 trees last year but no such good harvest as yours yet…probably it’ll be better next year…Fortunately, our tummy are quite TOUGH…so, we’re on our way to plant a few more:)

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Annie,
      I would love to plant 2 more fig varieties but I can only overwinter one in my garage. Do you keep your fig trees in the ground year round?

      • Annie says:

        Through your blog post, this year I got inspired to plant a fig in a big tub to take inside during the winter, but we also have 2 figs planted directly onto the ground last year. It overwintered to -20C, survived and we even started to have a few fruits this year..so perhaps it is not necessary? but the fig in the garden were planted against a wall (for extra warmth…I will still experiment with leaving the one fig in the tub to overwinter inside the house because I know you’ve done it that way with success:)

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Annie,
        I think planting your fig trees against a wall protected it. Looking forward to updates in the future.

  4. Really interesting comparison — I haven’t grown soybeans for a few years, but this has put them on my list for next year. I like your flowers — the colors are so cheerful, as are the little resident turtle and frogs!

  5. Kim says:

    Do you mostly use these in recipes or eat them plain?
    I do love to snack on them right out of their freshly steamed shells.
    It’s going to be 90 here today so summer is still going strong.

    Happy Gardening

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Kim,
      I ate them plain as a snack right out of the shells I also shelled them and add to salad and stir-fries.
      Yea, keep rubbing it in, our night time temp has been in the 40’s, this has got to be shortest summer.

  6. Patsy says:

    I’ve never grown soybeans or figs, so it was very interesting to read your post. They both look worth trying and yours look great!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Patsy,
      Fig tree is very easy to grow. What zone are you in? You may be able to leave your fig tree in the ground year round, I have to overwinter mine in the garage.
      Soybeans are also easy to grow, if you like edamame, it is worth while growing.

  7. Homegrown black soya beans and figs….my dream, Norma. One day…..I will grow my own too! You are my inspiration, Norma. THANK YOU!

  8. Stoney Acres says:

    Beautiful Figs! I wish we could grow them in our area! I’ve never grown soybeans sounds like a fun project!!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Rick,
      Thanks. What zone are you in? I am in zone 5/6, grow my fig tree in a large container and bring it into the garage for overwintering. If you like edamame you will find growing soybeans worthwhile.

  9. The black soybeans are so pretty. I’ve never seen black ones. I am quite jealous of your fig harvest. They look amazing and I hope you made some jam out of some of those this year so you can enjoy them in the winter, too! 🙂

  10. Kristy says:

    I can’t believe how many figs you have! That is quite a harvest. I would have likely eaten a lot of them as well. Every time I see them at the farmer’s market, I scoop them up. 🙂 And how thoughtful of your friend to share her soybeans. I’m glad you were able to make your comparison early.

  11. mac says:

    Beautiful figs and black soybeans, thanks for the comparison, it’s very interesting. How big is your fig tree?

  12. michelle says:

    Very interesting to see the progression of the maturing black soy beans. I wish I could grow them here but they always seem to resent our cold nights and they always seem to attract the local bunnies.

  13. Barbie says:

    I absolutely adore both the figs and soybeans. I could have eaten myself silly at your place@!

  14. Norma, how interesting! Thank you for sharing this with us, I’ll look out for those black ones!

  15. I am very jealous of your fresh and delicious beans, they look juicy and healthy 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  16. I agree.. planting both would be spectacular next year. But those figs.. wow, it would be so tempting not to eat more than my share! I, too, would have a stomach ache, Norma! xx

  17. Wow!! Look at all of those figs – that is amazing 🙂

  18. I would love to try to Tohya…they sound fantastic! You make me feel I need a fig tree in my life =)

  19. Juliana says:

    Norma, I love the picture of the soybeans, as they mature the color gets darker…cool!
    And figs…they look amazing.
    Have a great week ahead 😀

  20. Sophie33 says:

    Thanks, Norma for this good garden update! Your soy beans are very interesting. I love to eat them too! What a lot of fresh juicy figs & your front garden loooks fantastic, those colours & flowers are amazing too! Till now, I have had 40 ripe figs! 🙂

  21. Oh, those figs!!! How amazing! I trust they were worth a bit of a tummy ache 😉

  22. nusrat2010 says:

    You are such an angelic, pure inspiration to hang out with, dear Norma 🙂 How I adore your passion for vegetation!
    Thanks for sharing your heard earned treasures and those eye-soothing, soul-soothing pictures 🙂

  23. ChgoJohn says:

    What a fantastic fig harvest, Norma! Very impressive and how nice to enjoy them right off of the tree in your yard. Nice work, too, comparing the black and Toyha soy beans. I’d no idea there were so many varieties of soy beans, Thanks for today’s lesson. 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello John,
      Thanks and you are welcome. Unfortunately fig season is coming to an end and pretty soon the tree will be put away for winter storage until next spring.
      There are many more varieties and choices for the yellow (green) soybeans than the black but I am happy with the one I have so am saving seeds.

  24. cquek says:

    i like the beans is it same as edaname( the japanese beans with salt)

  25. Hi Norma,
    I enjoyed your write-up, especially the color progression in your black beans. In a few weeks I should have dried Toyha.

  26. I simply LOVE figs! Yum!

  27. Sheryl says:

    This post inspires me to plant several varieties of various vegetables next year so that I can compare the characteristics of the different varieties.

  28. Norma,
    It’s always so inspiring to visit your blog and see what you’re growing. I’m still just working on herbs.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Mireya,
      Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to leave a comment. Glad you enjoy my post. Working on herbs is a good start and I am sure you will expand from there.

  29. Purely.. Kay says:

    Your figs look heavenly Ms. Norma. I haven’t had figs in such a long time. I wish I had some right now 🙂

  30. Hotly Spiced says:

    I love all the colour you have in your patriotic garden and what a lovely sight to greet you every time you return home. And your figs look wonderful and I’m so pleased you were able to enjoy them instead of the birds getting to them xx

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Charlie,
      I forgot to mention that the hummingbirds love the garden too. Could not get a photo, they are too swift.
      The birds and other critters got some of the figs but I manage to get most.

  31. Hello Norma, I hope you are doing well. Thanks for posting photos of the stages of the soy beans as they mature and dry. Will you be drying some this year to make some soya milk drinks? Happy early Chinese Mid-Autumn festival to you and your family. Take care, BAM

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Bam,
      I am doing well, thanks. Happy Mid-Autumn festival to you and your family too, will you be celebrating and eating moon cakes? Have a favorite?
      Unfortunately, this year I only planted enough soybeans for eating at the immature stage an a bit for seed saving, planning to devote more real estate to soybeans next year.

  32. Eva Taylor says:

    What a great fig harvest Norma, I am jealous. As I mentioned in an email a while ago, our wild life stole and ate our three figs and they weren’t even ripe (that I know of). Damn birds. Next year I will net the tree so the birdies can’t get to the fruit. I was so disappointed.
    The soybean taste test is an interesting experiment, I do love soybeans boiled in their shells and eaten as a snack, so tasty and nutritious too. Do you know if your seeds are GMO?

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      My figs are coming to an end. Ants discovered the figs. This morning when I went to harvest, the ripe, and not so ripe, figs were all covered with ants and they were eating away.
      I do not know for sure if my black soybeans seeds are GMO, I think/hope they are as they are not hybrid.

  33. Hi Norma, i’ve always use fermented black soy bean but never see the real things….
    such a shame, btw my giant peper is still sprouting, cant wait to transfer it to my garden….

  34. I’m so jealous of your figs! They look beautiful and I bet it tastes heavenly.

  35. Beautiful patriotic garden and those figs! Wow, what a bounty!!

  36. Pingback: Harvest Monday, August 18, 2014 + A Few Frist + Maximizing Garden Space | Garden to Wok

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