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Porcelain
 
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Porcelain Bean (10 seeds) (WW224) $4.00

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Porcelain Bean

         
 
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This is indeed an elegant bean with a fascinating history! It is not exactly the same bean as the Snow Cap bean now sold by many US seedsmen: the coloration is more delicate (wine red flecks and stripes on transparent tan) and our seed source is the Alto Adige of Northern Italy where the variety originated. Dr. Weaver purchased seed in the open market at Trentino in 1972. According to German bean specialist Georg von Martens (writing in the 1860s), all of the bi-color beans similar to Snow Cap were the product of European commercial breeding programs in the late 1850s and early 1860s. Thus they are not Native American contrary to much that has been written and they are not mentioned in The Beans of New York (1930s). Most of the so-called Snow Cap beans were introduced from Italy after World War II. There are now several different strains. We prefer the Porcelain Bean, which happens to be the rarest of the Snow Cap types, not only for its physical beauty but because it is the bean of choice among northern Italian chefs due to its uniquely delicate yet meaty flavor. It is raised there as a snap bean and harvested when roughly 4 inches in length. If cooked with a little white wine in the water the dry bean will hold its color pattern. It is often prepared with quail and other alpine game. Like Snow Cap beans, this variety is pole with 5 to 6 foot vines. The young pods can be employed in pickles or simply cooked with olive oil and garlic, while the shelly beans are equal to green favas. Dry bean harvest should occur in 75 days after planting.
 

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