Vigna unguiculata. A.K.A. Ram's Horn Bean. 65-90 days. Many of us are familiar with the so-called yard-long cowpeas, but very few people know there is a variety of cowpea that has pods that curl upward and twist back to form a perfect pretzel. The small green pods of the pretzel bean taste deliciously walnutty, and the plants are highly productive. You can even eat the greens when cooked, the tender young leaves and shoots make a wonderfully healthy dish. Not bothered by bean beetles and is successful in high temperatures, drought and poor soils. Very productive in more favorable conditions. Pick young green pods as snap beans, harvest green peas as shelly beans or peas, and let pods dry for dry beans. Soak in water and cook like normal beans only with more nutrients.

The pretzel bean was introduced commercially in the United States in 1893 by W. Atlee Burpee, under the name Rams Horn Bean. Burpee treated it as a vegetable curiosity. Curiosities aside, this unusual cowpea happens to be quite practical, especially for small gardens. Because it grows as a twining vine, it is easy to train on poles or a trellis, taking advantage of vertical, rather than horizontal, space. The dry peas can be saved and cooked like any common black-eyed pea. Also, cowpeas are particularly great for fixing nitrogen in the soil, and the vines make excellent fodder for goats and other livestock.

~30-40 seeds per packet.

Pretzel Bean


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