Gourmet Food Source
French beans are classy, eaten in three stages of its growing season it offers variety, taste and texture to the kitchen garden. Best known in their youngest form as pencil-like when the actual bean has yet to be formed it grows on to form a larger bean called a flageolet before its final fully grown and dried state known as the haricot bean.
Yellow French Beans
How to Grow
There are a number of varieties and colours to choose from, I always grow a standard green such as ‘chevrier vert’ and a yellow one, usually ‘mont d’or’ though purple and black beans such as ‘nero’ have also proven successful in the past. I do not bother sowing beans before May; they need hardening off in a cold frame until planting out in June when the risk of frost has passed. Do not be tempted by a stretch of warm weather in early May, a sudden frost will wreck all of your hard work. Better to wait and make a succession of sowings until the end of June to provide crops until the beginning of October. Choose a sunny position and try and shelter from the wind, they need protecting from slugs and will require plenty of water during a hot spell. Pick regularly and freeze any leftovers.
How to Cook
This is a vegetable that requires careful cooking. Blanch quickly in lots of rapidly boiling salted water until just cooked, they should retain a crunch. A pinch of bicarbonate of soda will help to preserve its colour but overcooking will not. They are delicious hot with butter and black pepper or cold in a salad with good olive oil.
Content and picture © Miles Collins