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Peanut Beans


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I came across these fresh beans, for the first time that I recall, in the market this morning. They are known here as 花生豆, which means 'peanut beans'.

 

pb1.jpg

 

Information on the internet seems very confused, but I am guessing they are related to Mexican cacahuate beans and can be used in similar ways. The certainly look very similar.

 

Two questions arise.

 

a) Does anybody have any knowledge or experience is using these beans.

 

b) The beans I have are fresh beans, not dried which seems to be what is generally available, if rare. If anyone knows the fresh ones, any other suggestions for using / cooking them?

 

Here are the de-podded beans.

 

Thanks, all.

pb2.jpg

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liuzhou,

 

Perhaps these are cranberry beans?

 

Here's a link to images from Google: https://www.google.com/search?q=cranberry+beans&espv=2&biw=1097&bih=546&site=webhp&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=0CLQBEIkeahUKEwiS0qO0mpnHAhVIig0KHSBvAPA

 

Marcella Hazan recommends these for her Pasta e Fagioli recipe, so I looked them up to see if I could find them. Never have, but I'll know what I'm looking at if I ever do.

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They are indeed pretty! Rancho Gordo has information on cranberry beans here, including a video snippet on Pasta e Fagioli, a description of Sopa Tarasca for a Mexican take on them, and another suggestion to serve them up with poached chicken. I'd expect that with fresh beans you could play up their creamy texture and flavor nicely with minimal cooking, but I don't have direct experience with them. I think I'd try lightly cooking them, tossing with olive oil, parsley, a touch of lemon and some sage. In your part of the world you might prefer a less pricey oil.

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They are indeed pretty! Rancho Gordo has information on cranberry beans here, including a video snippet on Pasta e Fagioli, a description of Sopa Tarasca for a Mexican take on them, and another suggestion to serve them up with poached chicken. I'd expect that with fresh beans you could play up their creamy texture and flavor nicely with minimal cooking, but I don't have direct experience with them. I think I'd try lightly cooking them, tossing with olive oil, parsley, a touch of lemon and some sage. In your part of the world you might prefer a less pricey oil.

 

Yes, I'd seen the Ranacho Gordo info. Thanks, though.

I'm fine with olive oil here. Sadly no sage, though. Still, it has given me a couple of ideas.

 

I like adding fresh beans to salads, just briefly blanch them (sometimes I put cumin in the water along with salt) and let them cool. I think they are very good in pasta salad, but they make any green salad more of a meal which is refreshing when it's really hot outside.

 

I'm a bit confused, You just briefly blanch them. Other recipes are telling me to cook them for up to one hour, 45 minutes.

 

These look like what I've seen sold as borlotti in the UK. I've used them in the Marcella Hazan recipe here which is simple and very nice

That does look appealing. Thanks

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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I eat these very frequently. Love them! I call them cranberry beans. This is my favorite recipe. They go great with garlic

http://localfoods.about.com/od/sidedishes/r/braisedcranberrybeans.htm

 

Thanks, but that's the same recipe as the Hazan recipe in the previous post, only slightly reworded.

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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Thanks, but that's the same recipe as the Hazan recipe in the previous post, only slightly reworded.

Perhaps that speaks to what a good recipe it is. I've made it many times, and loved it each time. Perhaps when you try it you will like it too.

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I'm a bit confused, You just briefly blanch them. Other recipes are telling me to cook them for up to one hour, 45 minutes.

 

 

Well, you're going to have to run an experiment to see how long it takes. To me, 45 minutes to an hour is how long dry beans take to cook. Every time I have gotten fresh ones, they cooked in maybe 2-5 minutes after being dropped into boiling water. Now, I usually can only get garbanzo beans and fava beans fresh, so maybe the type you have takes longer. But, I suspect that if they are soft and pliable, they won't take more than 15 minutes, tops. (15 minutes is about how long it takes for starch to cook)

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Experiment is now concluded.

 

I basically followed Hazan's recipe above, omitting sage which in unavailable and adjusting for quantities. I wasn't going to experiment on a pound of beans!

 

After 15 minutes simmer the beans were still inedible. After 30 minutes they were very al dente. Edible but unpleasant.

 

At 45 minutes they were perfection. Most were just al dente, but a few had gone to mush, but pleasant mush.

 

They do taste good. Now trying to think what to do with them. They don't fit in with this evening's plan. I'm thinking of doing a summery vegetable soup in the morning. They would probably make a good addition.

 

I also think they would be good in a rice and beans dish. 

 

They do go great with garlic.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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They do taste good. Now trying to think what to do with them. They don't fit in with this evening's plan. I'm thinking of doing a summery vegetable soup in the morning. They would probably make a good addition.

They definitely are wonderful in vegetable soup!

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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They definitely are wonderful in vegetable soup!

I know! I got impatient and made it a short time ago. Couldn't wait till tomorrow,

 

vsb.jpg

 

Absolutely delighted with the result. Beans, garlic, shallots, celery, carrot, herbs, salt and pepper. Still some in the fridge for tomorrow.

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In the south, these are known as "shellie" beans - the most popular variety are like the ones you pictured - like in this link.

 

And they are cooked differently than dried beans, no need for pre-soaking.  They are lovely when braised, which is my preferred way of cooking them.  I came across this recipe a couple of years ago (while searching for something else) and bookmarked it.  It is almost identical to my method except that I also add about half a cup of chopped celery.

 

While the pods have dried, the beans are not yet classified as dried so are perishable and subject to mold unless you dry them yourself in a dehydrator or very low oven - if you live in a humid climate - I just put them in a big wire colander and let them set on the counter for a week or so - as the usual humidity here in the summer is less than 20. 

When I was a child in Kentucky, we called these "bird egg" beans because they were speckled like bird eggs.

 

Incidentally we also harvested the big limas - known as "butter beans" at this stage because we liked the flavor and texture much better than "green" limas.  This was one of the "chores" meted out to me and my cousins because at our size, we could pick the pods without bending over.

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Cranberry beans are a big family. It's almost like saying "red tomato". Borlotti, Tongues of Fire, French Horts, Birds Egg, and Madera are a few off the top of my head. In Italy, there are even more variances within Borlotti. I think one of the most prized is the Lamon from Venice. 

Sorry if I'm being pedantic but when you plant a bean, first you get the flower, which is edible, then the green pods. You can eat these as string beans. Most heirlooms will have a string you'll need to get rid of. As the season wears on, the pod's beans get bigger and at one point, these are shelling beans. This is not a scientific period and I suspect if you get them later in the season, they would take longer to cook. The colors are probably darker, too. If you don't pick them for shelling, then you cut the plant at the base and let them dry. The pods go from green to tan and beans go from white or lightly mottled to the vibrant colors we love. I think it's the plant's way of saying, "Save me! I'm pretty!". It's worked for me! I like shelling beans but they all kind of taste the same. It's not until the beans are dried that they become so unique and delicious, but I do shell them myself. The chefs all love them for a few weeks until they realize how expensive they are to have a staff member shelling them. 
Andie, I love that story! Here, it's dry enough that they dry in the sun and there's no needto oven dry them. This might be another reason why the central valley is so ideal for bean growing. 

And limas are another plant altogether (Phaseolus lunatus) and I think they taste less beany and more llike vegetables so your shelling them makes total sense. 

P.s. It's thought that their origins are Colombia!

Edited by rancho_gordo (log)
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Where I grew up in western Kentucky, it was quite humid most of the year.  When the beans were ready for harvest - after the pods had become quite brittle, the vines or bushes were cut, hauled in and were spread out in the hayloft in the big barn, which had cross ventilation and they dried out nicely, safe from the rain and were ready to "thresh" before the haying.  The bean thresher was an odd contraption that was at least 20 years old when I was a child in the '40s and it was operated by a "coal-oil" (kerosene) engine that was very temperamental. 

Naturally all this was extremely fascinating to me and my cousins and we were always underfoot when it was operating.

It was interesting to see the dry vines and pods fed in at one end, see the chaff blown out into a pile at one side while the beans went into burlap bags at the far end. 

The "chaff" was spread over the soil in the fields and tilled in before winter crops were sown.

Edited by andiesenji (log)
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"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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I have discovered that they go very well in a curry. I cooked them separately by the Hazan method, then added them to the curry for the last five minutes. They went down very well.

 

ccpb.jpg

 

Also, posted on the Dinner thread.

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