Flor de bótil is a beautiful scarlet colored flower that is edible and can be used for cooking. The brightly colored flowers and green shoots of this legume are actually the belong to a bean plant – known in English as “scarlet runner bean”. This vine is native to Central America and can be found in the southern regions of Mexico. I first encountered these scarlet-hued blooms at Mercado Viejo in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. I bought some that day and took them home to prepare them. After that, I have seen the flower growing in the milpa, on the roadside throughout Chiapas, and even represented in local textiles. When the beans form, the pods are edible whole or you may remove them and eat the bean inside. They also have a starchy root that is eaten. Read more about how to cook with flor de bótil.
The Latin name for “flor de bótil” is Phaseolus coccineus. The Nahuatl word for “flor de bótil” is ayocotl.
ALSO KNOW AS
- Flor de Ayocote
- Scarlet Runner Bean
- Multiflora Bean
HOW TO USE IT
- The tender flowers and shoots of the runner beans are edible. They can be steamed, simmered or sautéed.
- The flower is also grown as an ornamental.
- Once the beans grow, the pods are edible whole as well as the beans separately. Like all beans, they contain a toxin and need to be well-cooked before consumption.
- Edible starchy root
WHERE TO FIND IT
Native to Central America, you will find these bean flowers commonly in Chiapas. They are grown in the milpas with corn and squash. You will also find it in border regions such as Oaxaca and Veracruz.
HOW TO CHOOSE & STORE IT
Look for flowers that are stored loosely. This is a good sign that they won’t be bruised. The bean flowers are delicate so be sure to handle them with care. Best eaten fresh, but you may store them in your refrigerator for a few days. Wash before ready to use.