giant beans

chrisanne1(Z6 SE PA)January 20, 2007

My husband and I traveled in Greece last year and enjoyed "giant beans" cooked with onions in a tomato sauce in several places. Anyone have any idea what kind of bean these might be? Pole limas? Fava's?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenlad(6b KY)

Given the location my guess would be favas.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 1:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There is a pole bean with very large seeds sold in Greece and Turkey called barbunia (aka barbunya). I am enclosing a link to an image of the bean.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 4:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chrisanne1(Z6 SE PA)

Thanks, Rose Marie. They might be the ones, though they did seem more flattened in shape, like limas, but larger than any lima I'd ever encountered. Beans were about 1 1/4" x 3/4", cooked. Now I wonder if it's possible to get barbunia seeds in the US...

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 5:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here is another link to another kind of Greek bean. It looks rather similar to what you describe and you can grow your beans and eat them too!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Greek Giant White Beans

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 7:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

I am familiar with the "Gigantes" beans in the link above (although I was unaware that they were also called "Greek Giant"). "Hija" is another name for them. They are very large limas that require a long growing season... I was unsuccessful in my attempt to grow them here in Wisconsin, even when started early as transplants.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 11:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chrisanne1(Z6 SE PA)

Thanks for the link, Rose Marie. I ordered some, and hope to grow out a few. Hopefully they weren't irradiated or otherwise abused in transit to the US! From zeedman's post, I gather I need to start them very early. Wish me luck!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 7:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I can't wait to hear how it goes with your experiment, Chrissane! Please let us know their habit (pole?) and productivity. I love eating them, and would love to grow them. I cook my big cannellini greek style, but it's just not the same. Best of luck, and keep us posted!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 11:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Just following up...

There was some question in my mind as to whether the "Greek Giant" would turn out to be a lima (as indicated by the photo), or a white-seeded runner bean. I have seen its other posted name ("Gigantes") used to describe both. Chrisanne, how did it do for you? Was it the bean you were searching for?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 7:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
macheske(6/7 NorthernVA)

I found a reference on the web that says that it's a white seeded runner bean as you suggested zeedman.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 8:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

a friend brought me some from spain for paella, and they're easy to find in alicante and valencia. i tried unsuccessfully to grow them this last summer, and it wasn't warm enough. in spain thy're called 'alubias', and when cooked they are the size of a sugar spoon and delicious!
if anyone has had luck i would love to hear how you did it!

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 6:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There is a "Greek giant lima " that is sold as food as a dried bean . They cost around $4.00 per pound plus shipping . They are " fat not flat" and white . They take a long growing season .

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 3:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Farmfreedom, you have mentioned that variety on several posts. Do you have seed yourself, or have you grown it? I have previously asked you to describe the seedling, to which you never responded.

If you are trying to generate interest in the variety, you have succeeded... so could you give us a little more info?

As I stated in response to one of your other posts, the "fat not flat" description of "Greek Giant" seems to describe a runner bean... and since other descriptions/photos online depict it as one, there is considerable room for doubt here. If you could describe the seedling, list your source mentioned above, or if you would be willing to do a swap, it would be greatly appreciated. I would like to positively identify the species.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 5:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Madremaria, the word "alubia" is a generic term for "dry bean" in Spanish and doesn't imply shape, colour or even genus so these seeds can be a bush/climbing bean, a runner bean or even a cow-pea.

Here is a link that might be useful: alubias

    Bookmark   November 9, 2007 at 4:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Being Greek i must say that we call these beans Fasolia Gigantes Plaki, which means Fasolia= Beans, Gigantes= Giants, Plaki= flat(although not really flat).
I dont know the name of the variety but the best greek giant beans come from the prespes region which is mountainous with an altitude of above 900 meters(we just call them by the area of cultivation "prespes giant beans").Another thing about the region is that there are bodies of water nearby(which is beneficial to the microclimate), the soils are slightly acid and very fertile and temperature never exceeds 32 degrees celcius during the hot summer months.
They do require a long growing season being planted at the beginning of april and they are harvested before the end of october.
I dont know the parent variety for these beans but i know that the variety is the product of about 90 years of cultivation and seed saving from local farmers. The seeds required for the next years cultivation are from the same fields so this is why this variety thrives only in certain areas here in greece, while their performance is mediocre in most of the other parts of the country.
I must also say that the plants are susceptible to spider mite infestation and it is quite difficult to thrive in other regions of greece. I have been unsuccessful twice to cultivate them in central greece.
From what i 've heard there are about 22000 acres in the area of prespes(only organic cultivation) and northern greece (mostly non organic) which are dedicated to the cultivation of giant "plaki" beans.
There is also a larger bean variety which is called elephant beans and is also cultivated to the same areas as above.
We use these beans mostly in the "Greek Giant beans recipe". All the other varieties are unsuitable for this recipe and i asure you that if the beans are not of good quality this largely affects the taste of the dish too!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 4:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've tested the Greek Giant seeds and the way they sprout shows them to be a Runner Bean. The cotyledons stay in the ground and sprout with new leaves is raised up. (Vulgaris turns the seed halves into the first leaves and lifts them).

Picutures here:

Here is a link that might be useful: Chiefio

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 4:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Thank you, E.M. Smith, for that observation. It's good to finally put that question to rest.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 12:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Somas Greek Lima "Fassolia Gigantes" is a runner bean not a lima as the name suggests. We've been eating them as green beans, very tender and very nice flavor. Planted late I wasn't expecting to get any shellies or seed this year but did find one pod mature enough for shellies, only 2 beans in this one. A picture of the biggest bean, the second bean was an inch and three eights in length.


    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 6:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Sorry, that should read Samos not Somas.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 9:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In the very short summer of 2008 I planted four kinds of large white seed runners to see how they would do here.

Bianco di Spagna seed was sold as a common bean so it was planted June 15 due to very cold temperatures. It turned out to be a runner with truly huge seeds up to 1 3/4 inch long. Good quality thin skin shellies. Pods dried on the vines so it was easy to save seed.

Delucci Cannellini was planted 5/30. The shellies are good quality and about 1 1/4 inch long. Shellies are more plump than those of the other huge white runners. A few pods turned yellow but none dried on the vines.

Cannellini Gigante was also planted 5/30. The shellies are similar to Delucci Cannellini but more flat and I thought they were a bit more chewy. No pods dried on the vine but a few turned yellow so it is marginally possible to save seeds here.

Bond's Orcas Lima was planted 5/30 and it has flat thin skinned quality shellies about 1 1/8 inch long with a few up to 1 1/4 inches. Pods dry on the vine so it is easy to save seed.


    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 10:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dick where did you buy the Bianco di Spagna?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 11:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Happyday I got them from Italian Seed and Tool before they were bought out by Gourmet Seed. They had small packets that were not treated. I also got a treated packet by mistake. Those were not planted but were treated as hazardous waste!

I notice that they still claim that they are P. vulgaris. - Dick

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 8:41PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Beans and leafrollers
Several years ago I was growing Rattlesnake pole beans...
Tiger Toung beans.
I found this bean in Baker Creak seed catalog,and sure...
seed germinate
Got some blackened pea seed in the bulk section a the...
where to find Hilda/Helda romano pole beans?
Two yeas ago health problems interfered with getting...
True Heirloom Romano Pole Beans
I've been ordering Romano pole beans for the past few...
Sponsored Products
Grind & Brew Thermal 10-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker
$109.99 | zulily
Seletti | Giant Burlesque, The No Evil Monkeys Chandelier
Area Rug: Nelson Stormy Sea 7' 9" x 10' 6"
Home Depot
Anti-pill 36-inch Wide Fleece Washable Bean Bag Chair
Medium 6 ft. Premier Micro Suede Fuf Foam Bean Bag Sofa - 0000078L
$289.98 | Hayneedle
Pre-owned Framed International Heart by Alexander Girard
$650.00 | Chairish
Lamps: Atlas Satin Steel 78 In. Lamp 3366-22
Home Depot
Woven Green Luxurious Soft Shag Rug (6'7 x 9'6)
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™