Beans served in Europe

dorothyroederFebruary 8, 2011

When Travelling in Germany, particular, some restaurants served very large, flat, light colored beans, about 3/4 in long, something like big limas but milder. I thing they called them butter beans, but they are not the lima beans with that name from the American South. I really liked them but can't figure out the name. Anybody know. They are common in Europe, but I have never seen them here.

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They could be kidney beans. Or something else. I am from the former Yugoslavia, and we have a bean there we call pasulj that we make into a stew. They are white and can be as big as 1/2 inch, so they kind of match your description. Lots of people eat them in Europe. I don't know what they would be called in German.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 5:21PM
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Perhaps fava beans/broad beans. They like cooler conditions than common beans, more like the weather that is good for peas. In zone 8 you should plant them in the fall, let them overwinter, and harvest in late spring.


Here is a link that might be useful: Image of fava beans

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 8:24PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

In Germany favas (broad beans in UK) (Viccia fava) would have appeared on the menu as 'dicke Bohnen' and would have most likely have been either green or a khaki sort of colour and cooked fresh rather than dried.

If the beans were whitish/beige they were probably dried beans of the kind we call butterbeans in the UK. In German they are generally called 'weisse Bohnen'. They are not grown in Germany or the UK (wrong climate) but imported. I am pretty sure they are limas, Phaseolus lunatus.

There is a Greek bean called 'Gigantes' which is a very large white bean and is a variey of Phaseolus vulgaris, which is highly variable. They might have been served in a German restaurant and would have been called Riesenbohnen. They are generally available in jars ready prepared in tomato sauce.

I have looked at pictures of 'pasulj' and the beans look like what we call haricot beans (Phaseolus vulgaris again) in the UK. Confusingly they would also be called 'weisse Bohnen' in German.

I don't think they would be kidney beans (Phaseolus vulgaris again) since they are a distinctive red/brown colour, hence the name. In German they would have been called 'rote Bohnen' or 'Kidneybohnen'. They are not traditionally used there but have become more popular with the spread of South American cuisine.

The term 'Butterbohnen' covers several beans in German. It can mean green beans cooked in butter, wax beans or, occasionally, butterbeans.

I tend to think that what you had were limas, which are also variable, so possibly not like the ones you know.

If you can tell us how these beans were prepared it might give us more pointers.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 7:09AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

I bought a white runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus) 'Samos Greek Lima' that is to referred to as "Fassolia Gigantes". The dried beans are supposed to taste like limas when cooked so this is another possibility.

Samos Greek Lima


    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 12:56PM
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They were served plain, probably with butter or oil. I don't think they were a specific order. Just came with the meal.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 11:00PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

What was the meal? Was it in an ethnic restaurant? That might give a pointer to the bean used. Did you have the beans in other countries apart from Germany? Each country of Europe has its own cuisine. If you Google image 'weisse Bohnen' have a look and see if any of the beans are familiar. If you find something you think is the right bean, post the link here and I'll translate it for you if that would help.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 7:22AM
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Could they possibly have been a version of Lupini beans (Lupinus albus or L. luteus)? Those seem to have caught on in Germany. From Wikipedia:

"Newly bred variants of sweet lupins are grown extensively in Germany; they lack any bitter taste and require no soaking in salt solution. The seeds are used for different foods from vegan sausages to lupin-tofu or baking-enhancing lupin flour. Given that lupin seeds have the full range of essential amino acids and that they, contrary to soy, can be grown in more temperate to cool climates, lupins are becoming increasingly recognized as a cash crop alternative to soy."

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 11:21AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

That sounds interesting denninmi, but Lupinus albus seeds wouldn't fit the description of being like 'big limas'. And the wiki uses sound as if they are used largely as a bulk protein rather than as a dish in their own right. I have to say I have never seen them served in Germany.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 1:51PM
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I have to say that the Greek runner beans look exactly like "pasulj".

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 6:16PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

I don't know if this will help but I took a picture of the runner Samos Greek Lima (left) and Tetovac (right) I have for comparison. Too much glare with the flash, the beans are much whiter than this picture shows.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 7:20PM
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I know for a fact that "Tetovac" is a variety of pasulj, they are usually that size. But I have grown some that got almost as large as those runner beans, but that might be what they were, not real pasulj

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 12:18AM
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aleksandar(8a BC)

Crnogorac, "pasulj" is the name for all beans in Serbian and does not specify any one variety. "Tetovac" and "Bob" closey resemble dorthyroders description. However there are so many other varieties that come very close that it is impossible to get an accurate indentification without further information about the growth habit and other characterstics. I do love Tetovac for cooking "chorba" and "prebranac" dishes.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 10:52PM
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I know, but I tend to call the beans for corba and prebanac "pasulj" and snap beans "buranija".

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 11:08PM
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aleksandar(8a BC)

That is correct, but there are so many different varieties of pasulj(dry beans) and buranija (fresh eating beans).

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 10:34PM
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Ya, it really isn't accurate to call them all by one name. It's nice to hear from another Serb on the forum, I don't know of too many, the only other on I know is bemonkey (Vesna), she's from Bosnia.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 11:57PM
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aleksandar(8a BC)

Yes it is nice to meet other people of the same nationality who share an interest in gardening. I'll be in Belgrade in May and will pick up a lot of different seeds. If you are interested I am willing to share. I already have some tomato and pepper seeds from Serbia as well as beans.Send me a PM.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 6:47PM
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Aleksandar: Sent you an email.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 6:59PM
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