The Italian for climbing is rampicante and as my Borlotti beans took over the whole bean bed they’ve lived up to their name…  They totally smothered my french beans.

IMG_2255 podsI

t’s the first time I’ve grown Borlotti, the variety is Fire Tongue, and I decided to grow them to dry the beans rather than eating the fresh pods.

All the legumes did really well this year.  I liberally scattered the raised bed with chicken manure pellets and garden compost and was well repaid.  We had no mildew this year on the peas or the beans but did have a bit of blackfly trouble.

IMG_2294 driedThe Borlotti pods are beautiful with deep red stripes.  I was surprised and delighted to find the dried beans inside are also stripey!  So far I have let them dry out on the plant in the garden.  September was so lovely and warm and so far October has been dry so there’s no danger of them getting too damp and rotting.  Once they look dull and shrivelled I harvest the whole pod and leave it to dry in a large trug.  Now that it’s getting colder at night I’m going to harvest the rest of the pods and lay them all out on a sheet of newspaper in the spare room!

Don’t be tempted to shell the pods until the beans rattle around inside.  They need to be properly dry.  Then you can store them in a jar.

One serious note of caution: many dried beans contain toxic levels of lectin.  Before cooking, make sure you soak them in cold water overnight for at least 12 hours.  Discard the water then bring to the boil in fresh water, and boil vigorously for 15 minutes before continuing with your recipe.

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