A Harvest Story + Fresh Bean Soup

I was somewhere around 9 years and we had a garden…gardens. If you are Ugandan, you know that almost all homes have two (…or more) gardens. The backyard garden which is mainly used to grow simple foods like vegetables, herbs, and some two or four maize plants thrown in. One or two overgrown pumpkin vines snaking their way around a handful of scattered bean plants. They are small but enough.

Then there is the large garden or farm or a shamba if you may. One that is used to grow plants at a larger scale where there is almost a half to an acre (or more) of beautiful maize plants basking in the sunshine and fully radiant. Under the shade of those maize plants will be different kinds of beans growing and thriving at that. A farm so large that either the whole family(from parents to toddlers) spends endless days weeding then harvesting when it is time or where extra hands in addition to the whole family are hired to help out.

It is times like these that are still vivid in my mind. The harvest. Where we woke early, took heavy breakfast and got down to harvesting beans among many other foods. It was (and still is) hard work, but what makes it all worth it is the final aroma of boiling fresh beans. After they have been uprooted, picked from their branches and shelled, we would put a large pot of these beans on fire. There is something magical about eating food straight from the garden and when my cousin shared her first harvest with us, we were so excited beyond words.

Although it is not officially harvest season, people have started harvesting and it is wonderful. One thing with fresh food is that it does not require a ton of condiments. By simply boiling fresh beans with onions, tomatoes and some salt, you will have the most fragrant, delicious and healthy soup in no time.

What you will need:

3 C. Fresh beans

1 Large tomato, chopped

3 Small red onions, chopped

½ Tbsp. Ginger grated

Salt and pepper to taste

½ Tbsp. Oil


If you want your dish soupy, add more water. While the beans boil, the water may reduce. Keep replacing the water to retain the aromatic soup


Wash fresh beans and place them in a saucepan. Add enough water to cover the beans by about 2-3 inches.  Place pan on high heat. Let the beans boil. When the beans start turning a grey color, add ginger, onions, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and oil. Cover the pan and let the beans continue cooking. Once the beans start releasing an aroma and have softened, reduce the fire and let the stew simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Remove from fire and serve hot.




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