The genus Phaseolus is endemic to the Western Hemisphere and includes some 70 species, five of which have been domesticated.
Beans are an herbaceous, climbing plant that feature pods that can be eaten fresh (green beans and tender beans); as well as dried seeds that are suitable for storage and later consumption (beans).
The runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus), also called ayacote, ayecote, yegua, patole or ayocote, is a species first domesticated in Mexico.
Mexicans have consumed them since pre-Hispanic times, as verified by seeds found in archaeological sites in Oaxaca and Puebla.
The runner bean is Mexico’s largest; it varies in color (white, red, yellow, brown, black, purple, black or pinto) and also in shape, depending on the climate (the runner tolerates lower temperatures than other beans) and type of soil in which it grows. It is also cultivated on large plots to grow string beans (frijol ejotero) as a vegetable.
These beans have contain high volumes of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that promotes the release of the neurotransmitter known as serotonin, that plays a role in sleep and pleasure regulation.
Production and consumption occurs in the Northern Highlands, Central Highlands and Southern Highlands regions. Prime season for the fruits is from February to March and in November.
Mexicans eat the foliage and red flowers as a form of quelite served in broths and stews, or as a complement to tamales and tacos. The tender pod is cooked as a vegetable and becomes a garnish for soups and stews. Tender seeds, raw or cooked, are an ingredient in tamales and stews with sauces. Mature and dry seeds are cooked to make numerous dishes or as a complement to stews. Mexicans prefer runner beans whole, not ground or served martajado-style. They also use the root as a condiment, as well as to make pulque in regions where this beverage is produced.


Atápakua de ayocotes