Saturday, October 19, 2013


This week, I get a lot of young pods and young leaves from kara beans (Phaseolus lunatus).
In Indonesia it's also called kara legi, kratok, kekara or kacang jawa.
It's look like lima bean or butter bean.
But I'm not sure that they are same beans.

 As a member of the legume family, kara have a capability of "fixing" their own nitrogen from the air.
So... they do not need nitrogen fertilizer. 
Adding nitrogen to the soil will likely result in more vegetative growth and fewer bean pods. 

 a bunches of flowers

Kara (Phaseolus lunatus) are twining vines or herbaceous bushes, perennial in nature, but usually grown as annuals.
It can climb more than 4 m up a trellis or bean teepee. 
The leaves have three leaflets, each 5-13 cm long. 
The flowers are white to yellowish and quite small, usually less than 2.5 cm in length. 
The pods can be 5-15 cm long and 2-3 cm wide. 

Kara will grow well at full sun area but adaptable on part shady area.
This plant also able to grow on the barren land.
But need a fairy moist soil for their best growth.

Bunches of pods

 In central Java, It is commonly known as vegetables that grown for that pods and seeds.
Young pods are cooked and eaten as vegetables.
In Central Java, the young leaves also cooked as a greens. 
Old leaves are used as fodder, food coloring, dye and home remedy for stomach ache.
Green color is obtained from the squeezed leaves.
Seeds from old pods sometimes poisonous if eaten raw.
It needs to be cooked, to eliminate the poison.

young pods

Kara, like many other legumes, are a good source of dietary fiber, and a virtually fat-free source of high quality protein.
Kara contain both soluble fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels and lowers cholesterol, and insoluble fiber, which aids in the prevention of constipation, and digestive disorders

The high fiber content in Kara beans prevents blood sugar levels.

Soluble fiber make the cholesterol level is lowered. 
They may help to prevent heart disease. 

Kara beans also provide iron, folate and magnesium. 

Kara beans are a very good source of the mineral manganese, and help enzymes for energy production and antioxidant defense.

So this is a really useful plant...
Actually I got the seed by way of exchange with my neighbor.
The cheaper way to get various seeds.


  1. They look a lot like lima beans that I planted a couple years ago. The bees really loved the bloom on the ones I had. Mine were a bush variety so they got down in the dirt, probably the climbing ones are better.

    1. I think, if I have a chance to plant lima beans, I will plant the climbing variety, because the bush variety must be need large space. Actually, I just have 200 meters square of land, that I use to home buildings and gardens. So small... so narrow...

  2. You have make beautiful photos of the beans, Endah!
    Greetings, RW & SK

  3. Hi Endah,
    those look like very great beans to eat and they are so healthy too !!!
    Thank you very much for sharing.
    Have a great day !!!

    1. Welcome Eilis. This is a lovely bean I think. They give us a bountiful harvest with a low handling. I hope someday you can plant it.

  4. Sounds like a great variety of Bean, with lots of good properties. I wonder if they would grow well here in the UK. Perhaps they need more warmth than we could give them?

    1. I think you can plant it on the spring, and this beans will produce the pods from the early summer until the late of fall. This plant quite resistant to the extreme weather, drought, shade, hot or cool temperature. In the tropics they will produce well for about two years.

  5. Such an interesting post about your Kara beans. In our country we do not know this bean, but we have other varieties of beans. I think the Kara bean will be unsuitable for our climate in the Netherlands. Your cocoa posts were very interesting reading and I love your beautiful Bangkok rose. Thank you for visiting my blog I am your new follower.

    1. Thank you Janneke. Welcome to my blog. Please enjoy my adventure in tropical gardening.

  6. I have never seen this bean being grown, but surely it would like our hot summers? I'll be putting my spring garden list together soon, so maybe it will make it on the list!

    1. I think you should try this one on your garden next spring. Actually a really strong plant.

  7. Thank you for your visit and comment. You have a wonderful blog. An extremely interesting. I am glad that I could see how you live. I am delighted with your family and country and plants. I send greetings Monika

    1. Thank you Monika, welcome to my blog. Please you enjoy and follow my adventure on tropical home garden.

  8. Seems you use them in a similar way to how we would use mangetouts.

    1. Yes, I think almost similar. In my country, we use to cook the beans as a soup, curry, traditional salad or just stir fried. Actually there are so many kind of traditional dishes that made from this beans.

  9. Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog, it was interesting to see your glog and learn about the kara beans. I also read with interest about the cacao beans, I use a lot of cacao powder in my food, both sweet and savoury dishes and I prefer that to shop bought chocolate.

    1. Thank you for coming by Helene. Welcome to my blog. Please enjoy and follow my adventure in tropical home garden. Have a nice week