5 Things to Know About Shelling Beans
Shelling beans come in large pods, much larger than the green bean style of shell. Their pods are thicker and drier and the beans inside are much larger. Fresh shelling beans, like cranberry beans (photo above) or Italian butter beans are in season and available from July to September or October. Things to Know:
- Beans are among the first foods domesticated, and archaeologists have found evidence of their widespread use in the Mediterranean and Americas from as early as 9,000 B.C.
- Popular varieties include fava (broad) beans, cranberry (borlotti) beans, lima beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), black beans, and scarlet runner beans.
- Shelling beans should be slightly dried out when you buy them. When purchased too fresh, the beans inside will not be mature enough. Look for pods that look freshly picked but starting to dry out and have a fresh green stem end.
- Choose shelling beans that feel heavy for their size. Bumpy pods with plump, fat beans inside are the ones to choose and will be the easiest to pull open and pop the beans out.
- Fresh shell beans can be prepared in the same ways as their dried counterparts, but take less time to cook. Most fresh shelling beans require 20 to 30 minutes to cook, so add them to recipes accordingly.