The seed is as small as a grain of rice. Grown for a long time in the terrain around Lake Trasimeno, and widespread until the 1950s, the Lake Trasimeno bean has almost completely disappeared. The area around the lake has been largely depopulated since that time, and this ancient crop, unlike others that have consolidated their commercial value, has been left by the wayside.
The cultivation process of the Trasimeno bean is lengthy, laborious, and still entirely manual, from sowing to harvesting to threshing. The maturation of the bean is such that we find the flower, the green pods and dry pods all on the same plant. The preparation of the terrain happens in the winter, with sowing in April, and harvest between July and September. The plants are then laid out in the farmyard, dried and pressed with forks and sticks. Then the seeds are separated and bagged up using sieves.
It’s a small, ovular bean and can be found in many colors: from cream to black, from salmon pink to every shade of brown, even mottled. It’s buttery to taste, and particularly flavorful.
The local recipe for the bean is simple: the dried beans are soaked and boiled, then served with olive oil from the local hills, or else cooked in a pan with tomatoes and garlic.
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