Be-eautiful Borlotti


Well I simply couldn’t miss taking part in Yvette’s inaugural Friday food challenge over at Powerhouse Blog. So here you have them, my favourite beans, caught at the allotment in a sunset glow. Not that they need external aids to enhance their beanificent beauty. Not for nothing do the Italians call them: Borlotto Lingua di Fuoco –  Fire Tongue.

I love everything about them. I love growing them. I love the way their pods change colour through the summer – from green to deep claret. Then, as picking time draws near, the leaves turn yellow, and start to fall, revealing hanging rows of glowing pods.


But the best bit is shelling them. You never know what colour they will turn out – pea green, cream with pink speckles or claret with creamy streaks. Every bean is different.


I usually freeze them freshly podded, or you can dry them. Freezing means they are quick to cook, and you don’t need to do the overnight soaking necessary for dried beans. They are highly nutritious, mineral and fibre-rich, and can be used in soups, or to make baked beans. I use them mostly in re-fried bean dishes. This simply involves mashing up a batch of cooked beans with fried onion, garlic, and a few chopped tomatoes, then adding seasoning, chopped parsley or coriander, plus spices of choice (I use chilli and cumin), turning all into a shallow, heatproof dish, topping with cheese, and putting under the grill for 10 or 15 minutes. We eat this by itself with a salad, or as a side dish with just about anything savoury. A poached egg on top would also be good.

You can find out how to grow borlotti beans HERE. Then pop over to Yvette’s for more vegetable offerings:


copyright 2016 Tish Farrell

41 thoughts on “Be-eautiful Borlotti

    1. They’re also called Cranberry beans, Rosecoco, and are basically a climbing French bean, but with added attitude. Good luck with the chillis. Can’t grow decent ones here.

      1. Bamboozled I should think since we all make so many slips of this kind. I blame my fingers. They have quite their own agenda. Also I never seem to remember how to edit others’ comments without zapping them. Life as a series of typos – it’s an interesting scenario.

  1. We have plenty of them, here in Italy and consider them healthy and cheap , while their taste changes a lot due to the different recipes they can be employed in……
    Love your photos for the composition and colours!

    1. Sadly my chilli production has been disappointing. They grow all right, but taste very bland without a hint of hotness. I think little bush chillis might be the solution. You have to start them off very early in the season. And they like plenty of warmth – not a thing that can be guaranteed in the UK, even in a polytunnel 🙂

      1. I managed to grow a couple of chilli plants in my conservatory but disappointingly I only got three chillies! They are very hot though, but not very good value for money. Flowers kept dropping so I guess I either over or under watered and underfed. This growing food lark is complicated…

  2. Oh Tish – talk about win-win -these beans have so much and I can see why they are a fav – the photos give a glimpse of that beauty.
    And it reminds me that I need to share some vines from the garden I have in mind for Jude’s challenge this month. Hm
    Anyhow – interesting that freezing means you don’t have to soak them!
    Oh and read the comment “life is a series of typos” – true that!
    Well thanks so much for joining in and with such a vibrant and personal post! And I know we say this a lot as bloggers – but just wish I could taste via post!
    Have a great weekend –

  3. I’ve been buying Borlotti beans and freezing them for weeks now. Unfortunately, my vendor at the market sold his last beans last week. Thankfully, he had sown a 2nd planting of peas so I was able to substitute fresh peas for the missing beans. I prefer not to think about what he’ll (not) have tomorrow.

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them here, unless they come under a different name in the States. Lovely, though. Not that my husband would eat them. He has a whole thing against beans.

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