Bruna bönor från Öland (Öland brown bean)

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Bruna bönor från Öland

SGB Bruna bönor från Öland consists of the dry seeds of brown beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) of the Bonita, Karin, Katja and Stella I varieties.

Bonita has a delicate and slightly sweet-sour smell. The taste is mild and rounded with a distinct bean flavour and a hint of boiled potato. The bean has a firm texture, meaning it has to be chewed. The bean is highly likely to become mushy/floury after cooking. It is rated 8 on a 10-degree scale, where 1 indicates that no beans become mushy after cooking and 10 that all beans become mushy after cooking. Bonita has a fairly pale, light-brown colour and is the second palest of the four varieties.

Karin has a delicate and slightly sweet-sour smell. The taste is very mild, neutral and subtle with a slight hint of boiled potato. It has a soft texture and is easy to chew. The bean is highly likely to become mushy/floury after cooking. It is rated 10 on the 10-degree scale. Karin has a pale, light-brown colour and is the palest of the four varieties.

Katja has a delicate and slightly sweet-sour smell. It has a very distinct bean flavour with a fine, rounded consistency and a hint of acidity. The texture is firm and the bean must be chewed. The bean is unlikely to become mushy/floury after cooking. It is rated 2 on the 10-degree scale. Katja has a distinct chestnut-brown colour and is the most colourful of the four varieties.

Stella I has a delicate and slightly sweet-sour smell. It has a pronounced creamy taste with a mild bean flavour and a hint of boiled potato. Its texture is soft making it slightly chewy — more than Karin or Bonita, but less than Katja. The bean has medium susceptibility to mushiness/flouriness after cooking. It is rated 7 on the 10- degree scale. Stella I has a distinct light-brown colour and is the second most colourful of the four varieties.

When dry, all four varieties have a typical raw protein content of between 19 % and 21 %. The calcium content varies between 0,08 % and 0,12 %, the phosphorus content between 0,40 % and 0,55 % and the magnesium content between 0,10 % and 0,20 %. All varieties have seeds which are short, ovoid or elliptical, 1,5-2 times as long as they are broad, and plump. Their length is within the range 8-15 mm. The beans’ water content must be at least 9 %.

Specific steps in production that must take place in the identified geographical area:

Growing and drying by means of windrows in the field, by vine-drying, on hay-drying racks, or in kilns must occur in the geographical area. Drying using the above methods is a human influence which requires good practical knowledge of how the batch of beans concerned will be affected.

Brief description of the geographical area:

‘Bruna bönor från Öland’ are produced in the area delineated by the municipalities of Mörbylånga and Borgholm on the island of Öland, which lies in the Baltic Sea just off the east coast of the Swedish mainland.

Specificity of the geographical area:

Öland generally has mild autumns and winters. The summer is very sunny with an average temperature of 17 °C. Annual rainfall is 400-500 mm. Öland’s soil is mainly sand and fine sand which are particularly suited to cultivating brown beans. It is said that the beans’ best quality is attained if they are grown on sandy soil because it is warmer than clay and does not retain as much water in the autumn. Soils which retain a lot of water in autumn create a higher risk of fungal diseases in the beans because the beans themselves often have contact with the soil when harvested. Drying by means of windrows in the field, vine-drying, on hay-drying racks, or in kilns is a human influence which requires good practical knowledge of how the batch of beans concerned will be affected.

Literature relating to the cultivation of seeds of agricultural crops states that brown beans require light and warm soil. Optimum conditions are sandy earth with excellent drainage, a high pH value, good plant stocks and no weeds. It also states that brown beans can withstand drought but are very sensitive to night frosts and need dry and warm weather while ripening to become high quality. There are few areas in Sweden which meet the criteria of a long growing season with an early spring, low rainfall during the growing season, a mild autumn and a lot of hours of sun. Öland is considered the area which best meets these criteria.

Specificity of the product:

‘Bruna böner från Öland’, unlike foreign brown-coloured varieties, have an even, uniform and distinct yellow-brown hue. The typical colour depends partly on the variety and partly on drying the bean evenly. All varieties have seeds which are short, ovoid or elliptical, 1,5-2 times as long as they are broad, and plump. Their length is within the range 8-15 mm. No other brown-coloured beans are cultivated within the geographical area.

Causal link between the geographical area and a specific quality, the reputation or other characteristic of the product:

If ‘Bruna böner från Öland’ are to attain their characteristic golden-brown colour they must have sun, but no appreciable rain during ripening in the autumn. Frequent rainy periods in the first half of September give the beans a greyer, darker colour, reduce their storability and cause fungal infections. There are few areas in Sweden which meet the criteria of a long growing season with an early spring, low rainfall during the growing season, a mild, low-rainfall autumn and many hours of sun. Öland is considered the area which best meets these criteria.

In order to attain their optimum quality the beans must also be dried in the field by windrowing, vinedrying, on hay-drying racks, or in kilns. These activities mean that there is a human impact on quality which requires good practical knowledge to assess the quality of the beans. Knowledge of field drying is a tradition handed down from generation to generation of farmers by word of mouth. The beans may be further dried if necessary in driers designed for pulses.

There is written evidence of an uninterrupted tradition of growing brown beans on Öland since 1883. The varieties in question, which are described above, have been grown on Öland since they were introduced on the market. ‘Bruna böner från Öland’ are well-liked throughout the country, as shown by the fact that the Swedish Seed-Growers’ Association has awarded various prizes to growers of ‘Bruna böner från Öland’ in both national and regional seed shows. There are no records showing that other ‘brown beans’ have won prizes from the Swedish Seed-Growers’ Association.

In the 1930s to 1950s the Swedish Seed-Growers’ Association organised national seed displays with assessments of a variety of seeds from all parts of Sweden. The Petersson brothers, seed growers in Lilla Frö on Öland, won prizes in 1937, 1942 and 1950 for their brown beans.

Every year Öland organises a harvest festival (generally the last weekend in September) and also a ‘Brown Bean’s Day’ (in the latter half of September). These are occasions for the brown beans to be exhibited and celebrated and for new brown bean recipes to be demonstrated to the public. There has been a special recipe collection for brown beans for about a decade produced by local and regional people on Öland. On 10 November 2006 ‘Bruna böner från Öland’ were included on the Slow Food Svenska Ark committee list of flavours worth preserving nationally and internationally.

In the retail chain ‘Bruna böner från Öland’ are sold at a price which is at least 10 % higher than that of other beans, e.g. white, borlotti and kidney beans. In Sweden no beans other than brown beans are grown on a commercial scale. The price obtained by Swedish growers of ‘Bruna böner från Öland’ is up to 50 % higher than the price of imported beans with the same uses. In conclusion, the SGB application is based on both the bean’s need of a particularly favourable climate and its high reputation in the retail chain.

Reference: The European Commission