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Aug 20, 2009 06:42 PM

What to do with speckled yellow/purple beans

I got some pretty beans today at the farmer's market, and I'm not sure how to use them.

They're pale waxy yellow with purple speckles and streaks, and much wider and wavier than regular yellow beans. The guy at the farmers' market called them rattlesnake beans, but aren't those usually green and fairly thin?

Anyway, any ideas on how I should cook them? They're very pretty, but too tough to be eaten raw.

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  1. suby, do you mean they're too tough to eat raw in the pod, or after they're shelled? That makes all the difference in how you'd want to use them. Either way, they sound like a fun find.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dmd_kc

      I meant too tough in the pod.... the pod looks so great, it's a shame they have to be shelled.

    2. Those are cranberry beans. Never grown them myself. They are not famous for being great snap beans, but just about any bean can be eaten that way if you pick it at the right time. If they are too tough to cook as snaps, shell them. As for how to cook, beans is beans, except they won't take as long to cook as dried beans and will have a more complex flavor.

      And if the seeds are speckled don't be disappointed if that goes away when you cook them. That's the way it goes.

      1. zeldog's right, those are cranberry beans also called shell beans here in MA. I buy them all the time. A great warn weather dish is to simmer the beans for about 30-45 min. test for doneness. While those are cooking, saute an onion and garlic in olive oil, and when beans are done I usually drain and add fresh water to cover. Add onions and garlic to beans and add 1 can of tomato sauce, salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook for about 15 more min. Serve cold with a spritz of lemon juice. Delicious! This dish has it's origins in Turkey (i believe) and in Turkish it's pronounced barbinya.

        2 Replies
        1. re: andieb

          That sounds great. Thanks! I also have some sumac I've been wondering how to use, and I bet it'd work well.

          1. re: suby

            I've never used sumac, but I know it's used in a lot of Middle Eastern cooking. Also I forgot to mention, that you could also add finely chopped celery and carrots to the onions and garlic while cooking. It's a very flexible recipe.

        2. I've also heard them called Dragon's Tongue - we grow them in our small garden. Very young and very fresh, they can be eaten in the pod like haricots verts; dried and mature, we eat them like any other bean (kidney, white or the like) - soak and boil. The flavor is a little sweeter and nuttier than white beans, not quite as mealy as kidney.

          1. This is my favorite long cooked bean recipe. Give it a try, it might help with the pods. Just be sure to 'de-string' them if need be. This is an excellent - and easy - recipe:

            NOTE: chopped tomatoes are a good addition about halfway through, but not necessary.

            Green Beans Slow-Cooked with Bacon and Onions