We managed to pick the last of the borlotti bean pods just before the weather changed. Drying borlotti beans is a way to preserve some of the harvest through the winter. They are perfect to add to casseroles and stews.
As they grow in during the summer, the bean plants have pretty pink flowers before the dark pink pods come. They are a very decorative addition to the vegetable beds and versatile too as the beans can be eaten fresh or dried. We always try to collect some of the late pods to dry and this year was no different.
We podded the beans and left them on a tray to dry thoroughly. After baking or roasting in the oven, I popped the tray in as the oven cooled so the beans dried further. They shrink quite a bit as they dry out.
Once they are fully dry, the borlotti beans store well in a jar in the pantry. They are a good stand-by to have in the cupboard. To use, I soak them overnight to soften them before boiling them in slightly salted water until cooked.
Have you tried drying borlotti beans or are you wondering how to use them?
Here are a few ideas.
- This tasty looking butternut and borlotti bean stew from Diabetes UK. It is a colourful dish that you can cook in one pan. It serves 6 and is perfect for those days when you are in a rush. Allow 15 minutes preparation time and 35 minutes to cook.
- High on the list of comfort food for me is pasta. Sainsbury’s one pot pasta stew with borlotti beans and pancetta is a good weekday meal. The recipe serves 4. It takes 10 minutes to prepare and 45 minutes to cook so great for busy evenings.
- If you are looking for a supper to eat in front of the fire, Jamie Oliver’s humble beans on toast are anything but! Forget orange beans out of a tin, these are pretty luxurious especially when served on homemade bread or a sour dough loaf.