About Runner Beans

Runner Beans

The runner beans is native to South America, where it has been cultivated for more than 2000 years and there is archaeological evidence of its existence much earlier than that. It is a popular vegetable to grow. Most home vegetable gardeners have a patch of runner beans - they are easy to grow and, like al legumes, their roots contain bacteria that help renew nitrogen supplies in the soil. They have a more robust flavor and texture than French beans and are distinct from green beans in several ways. They are generally much larger with long, flattened pods. Their skin is rough textured, although in young beans this softens during cooking and they contain purple beans within the pods, unlike green beans whose beans are mostly white or pale green. Nevertheless, runner beans belong to the same family as all the green beans.

Buying and Storing : Always buy young beans as the pods of larger beans are likely to be tough. The pods should feel firm and fresh. If you can see the outline of the bean inside the pod it is likely to be fibrous - although you could leave the beans to dry out and use the dried beans later in the season. Ideally, the beans inside should be no larger than your small fingernail. Use as soon as possible after buying as they do not store well.

Preparing : Runner beans need to be topped and tailed and may also need stringing. Carefully put your knife through the top of the bean without cutting right through, and then pull downwards. If a thick thread comes away, the beans need stringing, so do the same on the other side. The beans can then be sliced either using a sharp knife or a slicer. Slice through lengthways, not diagonally, so that you will be able to serve the beans with just a little skin and lots of succulent flesh.

Cooking : Plunge the beans into boiling salted water and cook soft.

More Vegetables Guide

Visitors Currently Online: 14