reminiscing on rev-sharing with my cranberry beans

by Heguiberto on November 3, 2009

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fresh cranberry beans

fresh cranberry beans

Rev sharing (revenue sharing) is one of many methods used in online advertising when two parties decide to join forces to promote a product. On one side you have someone who owns a website with a targeted audience; on the other side you have a client wishing to market his or her product to such an audience. So these two parties join forces and whatever revenue gets generated by the association is later shared between these parties. I think that’s what my dad did in the past for some of his crops…..

Last Sunday while shopping for veggies at the UN plaza, I spotted a tent selling fresh cranberry beans in their pods. They looked so nice I ended up buying about 4lbs of them. Selecting the pods brought me back memories from my childhood. Even though I lived in the country, my family never really owned enough land so that we could grow our own commodities crops such as beans, rice, or corn. Due to that my dad resorted to lavoura de meia or “crop sharing” in Portuguese. As a “share cropper” my dad would work the fallow land and then share some of the produce with the landowner in lieu of rent. In this case he planted beans, which is why I’m thinking of the cranberry bean pods from the farmers market.

Looking back now, I don’t think my brothers enjoyed sharecropping too much. They were older than me and had to actually toil in the fields with my dad. All I had to do was deliver a fresh lunch my mom prepared for them each day. Pretty easy! I did help in other ways: by carrying bushels of beans, laying them on the paved patio for further drying, threshing them and watching them to prevent animals from snatching them away.

The cranberry beans particularly reminded me of this childhood experience because the pods were a little damp with this earthy smell; a sign that they were exposed to rain. That’s the absolute worst thing that can happen to beans during the drying process! Depending on how much water gets in, the beans will either sprout or rot in the pod. That means a loss of time, labor, money and energy. It can potentially ruin the Planter. My mom would say extra prayers or reza para as almas around harvest time so ‘gods’ would be kind to us by preventing rain from falling till our beans were fully harvested. Everyone was always super stressed out about it. In the end things worked out well. Maybe her gods were listening to her entreaties after all?

It is magical to watch plants grow and produce fabulous and flavorful foods to entice our palates and nurture all living beings!

warm cranberry beans

warm cranberry beans

So after shelling the beans I ended up with about 5 and ½ cups. The beans look gorgeous at first: white dotted with burgundy color flecks, but they turn brownish and the dots disappear with cooking. It’s too bad because they are stunning when raw. Fresh beans taste a bit different than the dry type: they’re nuttier.

To cook the beans, place them in a deep pan. Fill it with enough water to cover the beans with at least one to 1 and ½ inches above the beans. Bring them to a boil then reduce to medium temperature and cook for 25 to 30 minutes.

For this dish I used about 2 cups of cooked bean and froze the rest for future concoctions. Here’s the recipe:

2 cups of fresh cooked cranberry beans
1 medium white onion cut into thin slices
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp capers with brine juices
1/3 bunch chopped cilantro leaves

How to:
Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Sauté onion and pepper for 5 to 10 minutes till soft. Add garlic for the last 2 minutes and stir. Stir in beans, salt and pepper. Add capers and cilantro. Drizzle the rest of the olive oil over the beans. Adjust seasoning and serve warm or at room temperature. We enjoyed this dish with sautéed collard greens, a butternut squash-tempeh stew and steamed Thai black sweet rice.

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