Yet more miracles!!

summary: Borlotti (aka Romano) bean harvest; thieving cat; breaking rules; garden triumphs and failures;

The Swiss chard, Scarlet runner beans, Romano beans, Cranberry beans, and various herbs (including dill that self-seeded!) are doing well. Maybe my thumb is losing some of its black colour and turning green!
– me, blog from OUR kitchen | It’s a miracle!!

We’re going to eat like kings!

Borlotti Beans

Or, rather, we were going to eat like kings….

It’s all the furry black fiend’s doing. While we were outside on the front porch drinking our coffee and admiring the beautiful summer morning,

Carefully on tiptoe stealing,
Breathing gently as the day,
Every step with caution feeling,
He did softly steal away.

That’s right. There WERE thirteen unshelled beans in all. Now there were just eleven. :stomp: :stomp:

We found one of them, virtually untouched by the little pirate’s water dish. The thirteenth has disappeared entirely.

Borlotti Beans

We knew that the creature’s favourite snack is tender young green beans; we had no idea he would have any interest in giant somewhat tough-skinned borlotti beans.

And. Ooops! I think I may have harvested them too soon. Many of the beans are still green inside….

[E]very once in a while I’d catch a glimpse of pink among the weeds, and I discovered that the [Borlotti] plants were producing lots of pods. As soon as the pods started plumping up, I’d zipper one open every time I visited the garden. I was trying to figure out when to harvest them. Were the beans ripe? They seemed big enough, but many of them also had a pale greenish hue—hardly white with pink spots. I couldn’t find any info on the internet, but I finally got my answer, almost by accident.
    I took a few pods home one day to photograph, and as I was lining them up on the patio, I noticed that even though all the pods were predominantly pink, some of them were mottled with green, some with white. The pods that had the most white—almost the color of candy canes—had the nice white and magenta speckled ripe beans inside. The pods that had a mottled green background color still had the greenish beans inside. And there were gradations along the way; it seems the pods gradually change color as the beans ripen. At last, I’d finally figured out a way to tell if the beans were ripe without having to pick the pod and open it up first.
– Susie Middleton,, You Say Borlotti, I Say Cranberry—Beans, That Is

Even though many of the beans were uniformly lima-bean green inside, we cooked them all anyway. Of course the ones that had any party colours lost their beautiful markings.

Borlotti Bean Pasta Sauce

But the flavour is fabulous!

They were wonderful in last night’s pasta sauce. Pasta sauce made with garlic and garnished with basil – both grown in our not very sunny garden!


Ha. See? Rules are made to be broken.

Incidentally, those stunningly beautiful red chilli coins are from our neighbours’ garden. They planted the chillis just for us(!) – we adore them. But warning, warning! They’re hot as Hades.

I planted two different kinds of chillies too: a ghost pepper and the same cayennes that our neighbours planted, but our peppers haven’t yet started to turn red yet.

Hot Pepper Plants

The label on the terrifying ghost pepper plant is, “Super Hot Peppers – The Reaper – Warning: Extreme Heat, Up to 2,200,000 Scoville Units“. The normal looking peppers are Cayennes (also super hot) growing behind the borlotti bean plant and in another pot (not pictured) close to the balcony door, beside the tiny pot with the red okra (no flowers or fruit, just leaves).

I planted the okra in 3 different places this year, after they failed to do anything but sprout last year. This year isn’t much better. The only okra seeds that sprouted are in a pot that is WAY too small for them. The ones in the giant sized pot behind the garage entirely failed to show up at all.

(Hmmmm… do birds or squirrels like okra seeds?)


The borlotti bean is an oval to round, ivory and dark red to brown speckled and blotched bean. It comes in a pod very similar, streaked ivory and dark red. The beans and pods are just about the same size as a large string bean. Inside, the borlotti is cream colored. Its flavor compares to the chestnut. Borlottis are shell beans; you don’t eat the pods. […] Enjoy the borlotti fresh in summer and dried year round. […] Select fresh borlottis in full, brightly colored pods. […] Fresh borlotti beans can be kept in the refrigerator up to a week. To freeze borlotti beans, blanch briefly in boiling water, drain, and freeze in a zip-top plastic bag.
– Steve Albert, Harvest to Table | Borlotti Beans: Kitchen Basics
[Borlotti bean pods] are picked when mature then dried, often on trays, before storing for use overwinter. […] Harvest regularly for maximum yields, as the beans mature (the pods dry and become paper-like). Dry on trays then store in airtight jars.
    If autumn arrives before the beans are fully mature, pick, shell and freeze the almost mature ones for use as you would dried ones.
– RHS Inspiring everyone to grow | Beans for drying
As I write [the borlotti beans are] almost ready – still slightly green yet with a streaky red and cream skin underneath. Once podded, the colours of the beans inside are the exact opposite colourway to their pods. I think they’re the most beautiful of all pulses – they remind me of Missoni fabric. But then, once cooked, the strangest thing happens. They become a dull mousey brown. But what they lack in beauty is made up for in taste as they are delicious.
– Skye Gyngell, Indy/Life, Independent (UK) | Bean Me Up: This week’s harvest is borlotti beans, 3 September 2006

Borlotti Beans



This entry was posted in food & drink, spicy, vegetables, whine on by .

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1 response to “Yet more miracles!!

  1. barbara

    “Ghost peppers”? Eek. I thought those were the poster boys for way-too-hot nowadays.
    Too bad the beans didn’t stay their cute pink and white.

    The ghost peppers ARE the poster boys for way-too-hot, Barbara. That’s why T wanted to get the plant. Because “way-too-hot” is his life…. – Elizabeth


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