Why Do I Always Fall for the Weird Ones?


I have a problem. I literally cannot go to a grocery store that has a decent produce section without picking up some out-there fruit or vegetable, from delicious monsters to ridiculous mini-kiwis. I’m perfectly happy with regular old oranges and zucchinis, but when I see something weird, I think “I just have to get that so I can blog about it,” whether it looks good or not. So enter cranberry beans.

I picked up these weirdos at the Brooklyn Fairway even though I had no idea what the eff they were. A cranberry plant cross-bred with green beans or something like that I assumed. Actually it turns out cranberry beans, or borlotti, actually aren’t like either. They’re just cranberry-colored, not cranberry-flavored, and they’re more like a lima bean or cannellini than a green bean. So good thing I actually did a little research, because I was all ready to just steam and sautee these things up like green beans, but according to the Internets, that would not work.

Instead, you have to shell them and cook the beans, not the whole pod. Take a look inside:


Yes, they are beautiful and red on the inside as well. Although here’s the most dissapointing part:  They completely lose their red beauty when you cook them, and you’re just left with boring old white beans. Talk about losing their magic!


As most of the online directions suggest, I put the shelled beans in a saucepan, covered them in water, and simmered for 20 minutes. Their texture is similar to  cannellini, and the beans themselves don’t have much taste (maybe I need to get them in season?) So I doused them in garlic, butter, salt and pomegranate powder, the latest and greatest find from my now regular treks to the Indian grocery store in Jackson Heights.

I’ll be honest, the beans themselves are nothing to write home about and while they’re a perfectly suitable vehicle for garlic and butter consumption, not really worth the effort. A lot of bloggers do say they make an excellent base for a cranberry bean soup. Anyways, I probably won’t be buying these weirdos again anytime soon, but I can’t promise not to fall for some others.

Oh, and as some of you hopefully noticed, I got a new camera! I barely know how to use it, so I won’t be challenging 80p for artsy photo prominence anytime soon, but at least I am now a little less embarrassed to post my food shots alongside the ridiculous professional-quality images coming out of the gansie-proof household.

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  • gansie January 12, 2009  

    tell me more about this pomegranate powder!
    and i def noticed the nice pic.

  • BS January 12, 2009  

    haven’t used the pom powder on anything else yet, but it’s great…it’s just dried and powdered so you get that great pom taste without all the hacking up and ripping apart. Of course it’s kind of cheating, but no more so than using dried basil or something like that.

  • Nick January 12, 2009  

    What a strange little bean.

    Looks delicious though. Proof yet again that I desperately need a camera upgrade.


  • Kirsten January 12, 2009  

    Pssshh the cranberry bean is such a classic staple for hearty cooking… dissing them is like dissing the potato

  • 80 Proof January 12, 2009  

    BS! Nice pics man!

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