Monday, January 25, 2010

Mistaken Identity: the white beans

I recently posted about my neighbour who has been handing excess seedlings over the fence.  One of the first things that he gave me was what he identified as 'Broad Beans'.  Now, I don't like Broad Beans, but I thought I'd stick them in (hey, they were the right price) and see if homegrown ones were okay.

The plants have grown lovely creamy white beans, the same size as regular green beans.  Yesterday my friend Mary came around and told me that they weren't Broad Beans (because she's grown them before), but they looked like regular white beans that are ready for eating.  I then spoke to Peter who insisted that they were 'broad' beans (that they were long), not Broad Beans (as in the type). He then clarified and said that he just found an old packet of beans in his father's cupboard and stuck them in the ground.  Oh dear...

I thought I'd give them a go anyway and picked some for tonight's dinner, and had a munch on the way inside.  The skins were coarse and hard to chew, and not very tasty.  The beans inside were green and a bit better.  I could've probably just eaten the beans and not the skin raw.  However, I thought perhaps that I'd steam them and see if the skin softened a bit.

the cooked bean

The skin didn't change at all, however the beans went brown.  The beans were edible still, but the skin definitely not.  I'm not a fan of kidney beans, baked beans, berlotti beans and their texture was kind of like that.

the darkened beans inside the cooked bean

Oh well, I still have my green bean plants. They're happily producing lots of baby beans at the moment.

Dwarf Bean plants, with the two mystery white bean plants top right.


  1. Oh dear! Perhaps they were on the plant too long, and became dried? I know that is how you dry broad beans - instead of picking them you leave them on the plant, they dry and you can store them for making felafals or whatnot!

  2. I don't think they were on there too long because a) I tried one of the smaller ones, and b) they were fresh and green inside before I cooked them - just like the colour of normal green beans (maybe I should take a photo). It was quite a dramatic colour change! But yes, perhaps I will leave them on there.