Beans - Fresh Shelling
Fresh shelling beans are grown for the bean seed rather than the edible pod. The more familiar types of shell beans would be soy (edamame) and fava beans. For a few months in the summer, several varieties of shelling beans that are usually used when dried are available in their fresh state including black-eyed peas, cranberry, speckled butter, cannellini and garbanzo beans. These beans are fully mature and harvested from their shells before they are dried. They are not starchy like their dried counterparts, but rather have a creamy texture and mild nutty flavor. The condition of the pods is the surest indicator of quality. They should be fully colored and feel somewhat tough and leathery. They should also be lumpy, indicating that the beans inside are ready for harvesting. Fresh shell beans are usually cooked briefly in seasoned hot water or stock before being combined with other ingredients. They work well in soups, summer salads, ragouts and pasta dishes.