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I love beans in any form, fresh or dried, from baked to borlotti they are so useful in the kitchen and easy to grow in the garden.

French Beans
My gardening year starts with the first crop of early broad beans followed by bush crops of French yellow and green, maybe some black beans and always three or four climbing borlotti plants. A wig wam of climbing beans is a wonderful sight in the garden with the growing beans hidden inside the protecting mass of leaves.

When it comes to growing your own there are countless varieties to choose from, I like to have a good cross-section to provide interest both in the garden and in the kitchen. Beans do freeze very well and others such as borlotti, cannellini and white haricots are excellent when dried so a glut should be welcomed.

In the kitchen I use beans in so many ways; in soups, broths and purees, braised meat dishes, light summer fish dishes and as vegetables in their own right. Donít overcook fresh beans, they are best served with a little crunch to them so always cook them in plenty of boiling salted water. When serving fresh beans it is hard to beat a little butter or olive oil with a good turn of freshly cracked pepper and sea salt.


Content and picture © Miles Collins