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Cranberry beans


Wilfrid
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Are these beans indigenous to the States, or are they known as something else in Europe. I just don't remember seeing them in the UK. Cute-looking things. Soaked, boiled, cooled, and served with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, fresh black pepper and some snips of fresh tarragon, I found them very enjoyable. Quite meaty.

I suppose they can be used anywhere you might use similar beans? Any special uses or recommendations?

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Marcella Hazen has a recipe for something called "Assunta's Beans" in the Marcella Cucina book. Fresh cranberry beans are put into a cast-iron pot, along with some olive oil and small amount of water, salt and pepper, mashed garlic cloves and fresh sage leaves. The pot is covered with a damp cloth and then the cover, and cooked over very low heat for almost 2 hours, adding a little bit more water from time to time. There should never be more water than is needed to keep the beans from sticking. They end up tender but not falling apart, and are drizzled with some more olive oil when served.

The whole point of the method is to use a minimum of water throughout to concentrate the taste of the beans, but to add spoonfuls of water from time to time to keep the beans from drying out. (Hazen has a recipe for parmesan-cooked carrot rounds in one of her early books which works on somewhat the same theory; the carrots have an incredibly intense flavor.)

There should be fresh cranberry beans in the farmers' market about now. In Pennsylvania the Mennonites grow something similar called "birdy beans."

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  • 2 years later...

Well, life, otherwise known as Solstice, thank you Franco, has handed me a small paper bag of fresh cranberry beans. They're so pretty! But I have no idea what to do with them. Anyone?

Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

"Your avatar shoes look like Marge Simpson's hair." - therese

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I do a long slow simmer in chicken broth with lots of fresh sage. But now that I see that Marcella recipe, I think I'll try that - it looks even better than my usual way. Cranberry beans have an affinity for fresh sage.

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Here is a recipe from Marco Canora at Hearth: You render some prociutto until the fat is released, cook some onions, carrots and celeries in it, put in the beans, and stir to coat. throw in bouquet garni and add just enought water to cover and simmer at very low heat until tender.

Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

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I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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well, I took them as Tonight's Mystery Ingredient! to my friends' barbecue on Saturday night, + we boiled them briefly + then dressed them with olive oil, salt + parsley. Fine, but nothing mind-blowing. And such a pity they lose their beautiful speckling when cooked. thanks for all the suggestions, everyone!

Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

"Your avatar shoes look like Marge Simpson's hair." - therese

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Are these what the English call scarlet runner beans?

Dave

No. They are more similar (if not the same) as Borlotti beans. There are numerous types of this class of beans (cranberry, pinto, borlotti) and there are different types of borlotti beans as well. My family has a croatian type that is called a "goats-eye" bean (the blotches form a vague stripe, which sort of looks like a goats eye if you are really generous).

Are pinto and cranberry beans the same thing or are they just similar?

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I have wondered this over the years. I used pintos a lot a lot a lot, and cranberry beans rarely, and more rarely over the years as I love pintos so, but they are certainly similar.

My bean question is: Are Swedish brown beans borlottis? They certainly behave like borlottis in the cooking.

Priscilla

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Are pinto and cranberry beans the same thing or are they just similar?

present at the barbecue on Saturday night was an American friend who fell upon my beans crying 'pinto, pinto, I used to put these in my chili', so in his eyes at least they are the same. But I accept this may not be THE most scientific corroboration...

Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

"Your avatar shoes look like Marge Simpson's hair." - therese

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Are pinto and cranberry beans the same thing or are they just similar?

present at the barbecue on Saturday night was an American friend who fell upon my beans crying 'pinto, pinto, I used to put these in my chili', so in his eyes at least they are the same. But I accept this may not be THE most scientific corroboration...

It seems that cranberry beans are borlotti beans, but these terms refer to a class of beans, not a specific variety. Pinto beans are similar, but not quite the same thing. All seem to be of the kidney bean type.

Dried Bean types

p.s. You can buy pinto beans in the U.K..

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Ain't beans grand?

Cranberries are a whole family that includes various types of Borlotti, plus Madeira (the biggest I've ever seen) and Wren's Egg (the smallest). They look a little like Pintos but are not a very good sub. Cranberries tend to be dense and velvety but never starchy. The exude a very pleasant pot liquor (bean broth) which is why they are so popular in many pasta e fagioli recipes. But saying "Cranberry bean" is kind of like saying "red tomato". It's probably enough information for most people but there's more to the story.

Runner beans grow on long runners (as opposed to pole or bush variteties) and tend to have thicker skins and creamier insides. I also find that once cooked, runner beans can have three or four changes of flavor and texture. They're alive, I tell you. They also tend to be huge. Scarlet Runners are one of the oldest documented beans.

Swedish Browns aren't related to Cranberries/Borlotti at all. They're softer and a little bit mealier and have a sort of old-fashioned "comfort food" flavor. I've seen a lot of "cheater" or quick baked bean recipes using these.

Adam, does your family's Goats Eye look like this?:

goat_eye.jpg

If yes, these (and all of the above, even the Italian beans) are new world beans, indigenous to the Americas. Even flageloet!

I hope I don't sound pedantic!

Edited by rancho_gordo (log)

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Yep, exactly like that. After a bit of interneting I found that the are called "Ojo de Cabra" (so I guess I know where the odd name comes from) and are new world in origin, but have also ended up in Italy for some reason (and Croatia). I must remember not to tell my family that the special 'Balic family beans' are not so damn special. Curse you egullet.

As far as I know the only Old World beans are fava/broad beans, Cow peas (including black eyed peas and pigeon peas. Plus garden peas/chickpeas/lentils etc.

I like beans, wicsh I had access to more types.

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Yep, exactly like that. After a bit of interneting I found that the are called "Ojo de Cabra" (so I guess I know where the odd name comes from) and are new world in origin, but have also ended up in Italy for some reason (and Croatia). I must remember not to tell my family that the special 'Balic family beans' are not so damn special. Curse you egullet.

But they are special! And that's why beans are so romantic. You can pack a couple in your pocket, travel around the world and start a new tradition.

Also, they're a pretty obscure bean and I don't know of anyone else growing them commerically (although there may be someone, somewhere). I don't have favorites (the other beans would be so hurt, if I did), but these are one of the best. On their own they're fabulous and need no help beyond some onion and garlic in the water.

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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My favorite bean of the splotched varieties is the Anasazi. It is "purple marker" and white colored, and if you should get the chance to try some, oh,my, do so. Particularly if they are freshly harvested/dried, and most especially if they were raised in a high altitude, like Colorado or New Mexico. They are sublime :wub:

Edited by Mabelline (log)
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Hey, guess what happens when you put "Madeira bean" into a google search. J'accuse ranchgordo! Shill, shill. :smile:

Do you ship to the UK BTW?

That's so great! After all this time, my site is moving up the Google ladder! I'm not clever enough to that myself!

I don't ship outside the US yet, but PM me as I know some travellers who might be able to get you a pound or two.

Mabelline wrote:

My favorite bean of the splotched varieties is the Anazasi.

Pretty and delicious! I know the yield in the southwest has been very low because of drought, but I do know where you can get California-grown, fresh from last summer......(shill, shill, shill)....

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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I am also a big fan of the Anasazi bean in addition to the butterscotch or black calypsos and the chestnut lima.

My local Mexican market has a big South American section and sells the giant Peruvian limas which are huge when soaked and cooked. I also get the yellow Peruano beans at the same market as they sell them in bulk.

I use to grow cranberry beans until I had a problem with the variety I had which was attacked by a type of wilt. None of the other beans were affected. Scarlet runners do not do as well here as some types of beans. I won't have any this year because my garden was vandalized.

The black beans I have grown in the past are a "mystery" variety brought to me by a friend from Mississippi. They were larger and more round than bean shaped, had a meaty flavor and were better than the "turtle" beans I had previously used in black bean recipes. The pods were very long and often twisted and curly. My friend called them "Choctaw" beans.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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