Donated in the early 1980s by an American member, this selection of the ancient ‘Trout’ variety produces pale-green, luscious young pods, or, if allowed to dry, tasty white seeds speckled with burgundy. Carries pods high on the compact plants so may need staking later in the season. Found by Seed Guardians to be particularly disease resistant.
Thought to have originated in Poland, this variety produces creamish-white flowers followed by very attractive pods that, when mature, are green flushed with red. Can be used fresh as a succulent, stringless green bean, ideal for salads. Alternatively, the half white and half red, sometimes mottled, dried beans make an attractive addition to soups and stews. Seed Guardian Jackie Newey thinks that they are “amazing!” and grows some every year.
Named after the Hopi people, a Native American tribe of north-east Arizona who used the black beans both for food and as a dye. The compact (35-50cm) but prolific plants produce dark lilac flowers followed by a generous crop of flat, greenish-yellow pods. These can be eaten fresh when young, or allowed to mature when the dried beans are great in chillis or as refried beans. Also thought to show some drought resistance. Sow to harvest 90 days (approx.)
Dating back to at least 1882, this Dutch-bred variety was used by the English as a forcing bean for hothouses. Produces compact plants (30-50cm) with white flowers followed by green pods that lighten with age to almost a silver-white giving, with a little imagination, the impression of icicles. Great fresh; either raw in salads when very young, or lightly steamed. Good flavour and texture when cooked after freezing, also dries well for use as a pulse. Sow to harvest 50-70 days (approx.)
A vigorous pea bean with beautiful white flowers followed by lumpy-looking but succulent, tender and stringless pods. Best cooked straight from the plant when young. However, the bicoloured white and brownish-purple dried beans store very well. If you are looking for quality of flavour, not quantity of yield, this is the bean for you. A delicious bean!
Originally from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, this cream-seeded variety has been handed down for at least three generations in our donor's family. The purple-pink flowers are complemented by purple-tinged leaves and stems, and followed by flat purple pods. These pods have excellent flavour, perfect for eating fresh or freezing, and when dried the beans have a rich, nutty flavour.
This pea bean was donated by a member, who discovered them in a Majorcan market during the late 1980s. The seeds are the typical bicolour of pea beans; however, the maroon half is additionally striped with brown. Produces tall (up to 2.5m), strong vines and a good yield of tasty pods, but can be a little stringy if used fresh, and is best used as a drying bean.
Syn. Dutch Half Runner. This white seeded variety originates with the settlers of the Dutch Fork Section of South Carolina, USA. Growing to around 1.2m in height it produces white flowers and short, straight, pale green pods over a long season. When eaten young the pods are stringless and tasty, although the beans are equally delicious dried.
Grown by Mr Brooks in the 1960s, but passed to us by his neighbour, who has grown the beans since 1969. The buff-coloured seeds produce 50-60cm plants and very attractive mauve and lilac flowers followed by slim, flat, purple pods. Best picked when young as pods become a little stringy as they mature. Sow to harvest 70 days (approx.)
Our Leicestershire-based donor acquired these seeds from her neighbour who, in turn, had been given them by a cousin, Mrs Lewis from Suffolk. Mrs Lewis said that this bean could not be bought commercially any more and believed it to be ‘Purple Pod’, mentioned in a 1979 Percy Thrower book. Grows to 1.8m with purple stems and very dark leaves. Small purple flowers are followed by bright, shiny, flat purple pods which, when young, are delicious steamed. The dried beans have a lovely nutty flavour.