Runner beans - so many different types?
By runner beans I mean the Phaseolus coccineus species. I first learned about them in this forum, and I greatly appreciate the information you have all been sharing. I would like to also share the little bit that I learned from eating them and growing them.
It started with the red scarlet runners, and as many of you I am growing the Insuk Wang Kong type (we call them king beans at home).
Earlier this year I made a purchase from Purcell farms, where they sell (expensive) gourmet beans. They are however, not expensive if you think of them as seed ;-). One disadvantage is that they will sell you the same bean under different names, and sometimes the names can be misleading.
I grew the ones named 'sweet white runners' because they cooked to a large, creamy, 'chestnuty' wonderful flavor and consistency. The flavor to me was reminiscent of the Christmas limas, which I love (but have a hard time growing). I also grew the ones named 'runner cannelini' since they were good too (different than the sweet white runners). I thought they were P vulgaris, but from the sprouts I could tell right away they were P coccineus. The cotyledons stayed inside the ground and they look just like the scarlet runners but with white flowers.
The picture shows the Red scarlet runners on the bottom, the sweet white runners on the left, and the runner canelinnis on the right. The sweet white runner are on the average a little broader than the cannelinis (which might not be cannelinis?). Inside the square dish are "Bianco di spagna" that I got in a trade and also planted. They have sprouted but not producing yet.
This spring I have already been enjoying three out of the four in the picture. As green beans I can hardly tell them apart though. What is your experience with the runners as snaps? any distinctive flavor or texture differences?
Is there any information or experiences that you can share on these beans? Have you encountered yet other types of runner beans? Are there favorite ways that you cook them? I love the green snaps in pickles and also grilled. I harvest the red scarlet runners also as shellies and dried beans, they make an awesome addition to my 3 bean chili (I mix them with pinto beans and black beans from the store to 'stretch them out'). I am really looking forward to harvesting the sweet white runners as shellies.
We recently re-built a trellis for some of the runner beans, they are looking nice with their red and white flowers. I am using the same trellis for some manzano peppers, once they get their purple flowers it is going to be quite a sight. I have also been watching the hummingbirds. They definitely favor the scarlet flowers! I will try to post a picture of the trellis this coming weekend.