Hand drawn image of Runner beans

Runner beans

Phaseolus coccineus

Runner beans are an iconic British summer veg and a gardener’s classic. With lush foliage and scarlet flowers, they are an impressive and rewarding crop. A really fresh runner bean, picked at its best, takes a lot of beating. Sweet, snappy and succulent.

Image of Runner beans being produced

In the kitchen

Storage

Store them in the bottom of your fridge, in the bag we deliver them in. They should keep for a week before losing their snap.

Prep & Cooking tips

Remove the tops with a sharp knife, or pinch off with your fingertips. Many people tail beans as well as topping them, although it isn’t necessary. Runner beans can benefit from de-stringing – running a potato peeler down each side will do the job easily.

Runner beans are best finely sliced rather than cooked whole. Slice them at an angle for an attractive finish. Blanch or steam them for 3-4 minutes; not too raw and not too soggy, they should have a barely discernible squeak to them. If you’re going to use them cold, drain and plunge into cold water straight away to lock in the bright green colour.

Alternatively, they can be cooked long and slow in a rich stock or tomato sauce; what they lose in colour they make up for in tenderness. Allow at least an hour, the longer the better.

Video: Runner Beany Herb Linguine recipe

Easy ideas

1. Sliced & dressed

Clean and de-string the beans with a peeler. Slice finely at an angle and blanch for 3-4 mins until just cooked. Throw with a simple vinaigrette, salsa verde or pesto. For a bit of luxury add a blob of clotted cream to the just cooked beans and top with toasted almonds, instead.

2. Slow cooked

Try cooking, roughly sliced into a rich tomato sauce or winey stock for the best part of an hour until melting and tender. This makes a perfect pasta sauce with a few anchovies, capers and herbs chopped through.

3. Salads

Runner beans are delicious thrown through late summer salads; either sliced and lightly blanched or peeled into long, curled and crunchy strips and used raw.

4. Chutney

A handy way to deal with any overwhelming glut of beans. You’ll soon work your way through a few jars. It wouldn’t be an unwelcome guest to reappear over the Christmas period with a few cold cuts or a cheese board.

Goes well with

Acidic flavours (Lemon, Vinegar)
Alliums (Garlic, Onion)
Asian flavourings (Chilli, Ginger, Sesame, Soy)
Cured pork
Herbs (Basil, Tarragon)
Honey and sugar
Nuts
Salty things (Anchovies, Capers, Olives, Feta, Parmesan)
Tomato
Tuna

Runner beans recipes

View all Runner beans recipes

In the field

  • Meet the grower: Kate & Andrew Maciver-Redwood, Haye Farm, Devon

    Kate & Andrew run Haye Farm on the Cornish bank of the River Tamar growing purple sprouting broccoli, kale, cauliflowers, leeks and romanesco.

    Read more

Seasonality

The first flush comes from our farm in the Vendée in June then home grown in August and September. They like to grow in hot and humid climates so can be a challenge to grow in the UK.
jan
feb
mar
apr
may
jun
jul
aug
sep
oct
nov
dec

More in the A-Z

View all A-Z