I’m a huge fan of beans and was delighted to find that one of the local purveyors at my Farmer’s Market sells fresh cranberry beans (also called Borlotti in Italian).
They are one of the fairest beans of the fall harvest, enveloped in beige and russet fleshy pods about 4-6 inches long which are easy to shell; simply open the pods and release the 3-4 plumb beans. The beans are off-white with beautiful scarlet streaks. When selecting the beans, look for firm pods with bright colors which usually yield good-looking and tasting contents. The beans have a nutty taste and a mild, buttery consistency that makes them very versatile.
You can boil them in water with thyme and enjoy them as a side dish, or render some bacon to kick them up to accompany rice or stew them with fresh sausages. The neat thing about fresh beans is that they cook up real quick (15-20 minutes) and are exceptionally tasty for their texture. I added a bowl of cranberry beans to my vegetable medley soup, and am enjoying them for lunch for the rest of the week!