Last week we covered drying and storing Borlotti Beans, which prompted a few more queries about how to cook with them and whether you can freeze them fresh. Here’s the low down for anyone who is keen to learn more…
- Pick the bean pods when they have swollen, but before the pods start to dry out. The bean pods will be a bright pink at this stage, and the beans inside will have developed a nice pink marbling effect. (After this stage the pods will start to turn deep purple and then brown as they dry out)
- Shell the beans, removing the pretty borlottis from their pods and pop them in portions in bags in the freezer. You don’t need to blanche them.
- You can then cook them from frozen, just add to boiling water and boil for approx 20-30 mins until they are soft.
- Pick the bean pods after they have started to dry out – ideally the pods will have started to turn dark purple or reached the brown stage. However, try to do this during a dry spell, and if the weather does turn very wet for a prolonged forecast, then better to pick them and dry them under cover so that they don’t start to rot.
- Dry the pods out completely so that all the pods are brown, and you can hear the beans inside rattling when you shake them. A greenhouse or porch, or a dry room in the house is perfect, and lay the pods out on trays or veg crates.
- Once fully dried, shell the beans. Put the beans on a tray and let them dry out fully before storing them in an airtight container. You shouldn’t be able to dig your thumbnail into the beans – that’s how you can tell that they are dry enough.
- You can store them easily for 12 months in a dark cupboard, maybe longer.
- When you want to cook them, soak in a bowl of water overnight (a handful per person is about right). Then boil in water for approx 40 mins until they are soft.
Once cooked as above you can use the beans for any of the following dishes:
- Hummus – just add tahini, lemon juice, cooked garlic and a little olive oil or butter and whizz up in a blender
- Add to stews and casseroles – meat or veg based
- Use in cassoulet style dishes with lots of garlic, thyme and bay
- Mix in with cooked greens or salads