Have you seen these? If you’ve been spending time at your local farmers markets and produce stands you probably have (because I know my grocery stores certainly don’t sell them). If not… well, you better visit one soon! Summer won’t be here forever. I know, I know. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
These are fresh cranberry beans, also known as borlotti beans. Scared to buy them because you don’t know what to do with them? I was too. But that gorgeous magenta color was pretty much irresistible to me. It’s the same way I feel about most vividly purple peppers or cauliflower, or graffiti-speckled eggplant: I see a beautiful veggie and I must have it!
You bet I was even more pleased when I got home, carefully opened the first bean and discovered just what I had hoped for: that they were just as beautiful inside as out.
And, that I was dealing with legumes. You know, like black beans, cannellini, or pinto. Except that these were fresh from the shell, not the can. You don’t think black beans grow in a can, do you?
I learned that working with fresh beans is not difficult at all: the beans are quickly stripped from the shells, require boiling for about 15 minutes, and can then be used in any way you might use canned or soaked dried beans. Cranberry beans somewhat resemble great Northern or cannellini beans in flavor, so I thought they’d be good sauteed along with fresh summer zucchini, garlic and a little rosemary as a side dish. I enjoyed the fact that they kept a pretty purple hue, even after cooking. Next time, there’s a good chance I’ll be buying enough to make a full meal.