Runner bean glut? A few suggestions about what you can do

First published by Rattan Direct on 12 August 2016.

Dwarf and runner bean glut. Sarah Buchanan
Dwarf and runner bean glut. Sarah Buchanan

Harvest

Over the past few months, we’ve been enthusiastically encouraging you to sow and plant vegetables from beans to greens. Now, we hope, your plants have grown and you’re harvesting beautifully fresh produce from your balcony, patio, garden or allotment.

Small harvest or glut?

My experience is a little mixed this year.

Life got in the way and I only managed to plant garlic in February (it likes November better). The heads are fairly small but the taste is excellent. The crop is so small that it will all be used up fresh and there will be none to store. No-one round here is complaining, though, and there’s always next year to have another go.

I sowed an old packet of dill seed in the spring, it all germinated and it’s threatened to take over the plot. I like this herb very much with fish and with potato salad but there is a limit. It’s not quite a glut but pretty near.

Dwarf and runner bean glut. Sarah Buchanan
Dwarf and runner bean glut. Sarah Buchanan

All the signs are there, though, that a real bean glut is in the making – that’s a vast amount of runner and French climbing beans arriving all together, very soon. You may already be inundated. Planning what to do ahead of time makes good sense before the kitchen becomes overwhelmed and friends and neighbours start to cross the road when they see us. You can only eat so many meals which include boiled or steamed runner or French beans, with or without butter. Try some of these alternatives: cold, hot, sour, sweet.

  • Cold in a salad – boil or steam and then add olive oil.
  • Freeze them for your Christmas or other special dinner.
  • French bean flan. I gather guests sometimes think it’s asparagus.
  • Runner bean chutney.
  • Curry – fresh green beans do like assertive flavours such as chilli and mustard. Try this Madhur Jaffrey South Indian-style runner bean recipe.
  • Soup – add green or French beans to minestrone or try this Women’s Institute recipe.
  • Cook beans with tomatoes.
  • Toad in the hole – but with beans and bacon. I’ll be trying this recipe very soon as the blurb says it’s good for overworked cooks, and that is me in a nutshell at present. Bonus: a runner bean and potato curry recipe is also to be found via this link.
  • Xanthe Clay outlines four delicious sounding recipes here: with chorizo, in a mustard dressing, with pangrattato, and with poppyseed and orange. You get two veg gluts for the price of one in this article as there are also four recipes for a courgette glut.
Dwarf and runner bean glut. Sarah Buchanan
Dwarf and runner bean glut. Sarah Buchanan

Full circle

Eating from the garden frees up space to grow yet more. Sow another yard/metre/pot of salad leaves so they mature regularly in succession. I’ve found a bit of space to sow some old turnip and beetroot seed. It may be a little late, the seed may be past its best and not germinate but it’s nothing ventured, nothing gained in gardening!

Bare earth in Somerset, ready to prepare for the next crop. glut
Bare earth in Somerset, ready to prepare for the next crop. Sarah Buchanan

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