Do You Know Beans?
It’s time to look for “shellies” (or shuckies or shellouts) at the farmers market. These shell beans are the mature seeds (or beans) whose pods are usually no longer edible, but the beans are fresh – and delicious. After shelling, the pods are discarded, and the seeds saved and used in soups, salads, dips and stews.
Here are some varieties that come to market this month.
Cranberry Beans – eye-catching with red markings on both the white pods and beans.
Lima – the most common bean in the United States named after the capital of Peru.
Fava – also known as broad beans. This bean that generally needs to be both shelled and skinned. More of a cool weather bean but you might catch a few in August.
Garbanzo – also know as chickpeas and usually available dried or canned. Look for young, fresh green chickpeas in their pods at the farmers’ market. Try them roasted, in salads or use to make hummus.
Italian Cannellini – a fresh form of the dried white kidney bean and traditionally used in minestrone soup.
French flageolet – small, tender kidney beans that are harvested from their pods when tender and just barely mature.
Edamame – an immature soybean cooked and served whole (pod and bean). The green soybean is boiled or steamed and served with a sprinkling of crushed sea salt. The seed pod is squeezed between the teeth so that the seeds pop into your mouth and then the shell is discarded.
Refrigerate pods in a plastic bag with a slightly dampened paper towel for a day or two. Shell as soon as possible to prevent mildew. If longer storage is necessary, shell the beans and freeze in freezer bags.