Certainly one of the most attractive of the bean family with its fiery red coat and speckled fruit it is also one of the most tasty. Commonplace in Italian cookery it is delicious on its own or as part of a vegetable soup or meat dish.
How to Grow
Grow as for French beans, there are both climbing and dwarf varieties available and I would always recommend growing more than you would probably think necessary. I say this because they dry fantastically well, you can either pod them and dry or leave them to dry on the bush but either way they make a wonderful addition to the winter store cupboard. I grow mine in large plugs and leave them to reach a good height in the cold frame. They need to be established before planting out and after a couple of disasters with late frosts and strong winds in early May I do not consider planting out until June. Grown up wigwams, the planting site is given plenty of compost and then lots of water.
How to Cook
When fresh they are delicious simply cooked in fast boiling water and tossed with some olive oil and lemon juice or added to an Italian minestrone or ribolitta. If dried soak them in water overnight and cook in unsalted water until tender.