We bought some runner bean um .. seeds? beans? to plant this year – along with most of the other things we bunged into the ground, it was a massive experiment. We’d never grown them before and really didn’t know what to expect. Well .. we had a rough idea as my Dad grows them regularly .. but its a different pole of beans growing them and tending them yourself, as opposed to looking at his huge contraptions draped in green stuff.
I bought a bunch of canes and basically made up some sort of framework for them to grow up, but my Dad had mentioned he’d only had less than half of his beans come up, so I thought I’d increase my chances and plant double what I needed. I hadn’t realised I’d bought the bean/triffid cross variety …
They went mental. You could virtually see them growing. They got to the top of the framework I’d built and, even when I’d snipped the tops off, they still kept going up (apparently they can keep growing from below and push the tops up). I probably missed a few tops too, because every single bean sprouted and it got difficult to keep track. On the plus sides … we’ve not had ANY need to buy beans this year. The flowers are lovely and the bees have been in buzzy heaven.
On the down side .. I’m really not THAT keen on runner beans – I prefer French Beans .. only at the time I hadn’t really worked out the difference!
Anyway .. one of the recipes we discovered early on (my sister-in-law had made some from her crop the year before) was this chutney … it’s gorgeous. It’s sweet and spicy with just enough crunch. It goes really well with ham, sausages, pork pies and various sandwiches such as cheese or bacon … we’re regularly discovering new ways to enjoy it! Which is probably just as well, considering the crop we’re getting!
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp cardamon seeds
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 120 ml vegetable oil
- 225 g sugar
- 100 ml white wine vinegar
- 750g runner beans, topped & tailed and chopped into fairly small chunks
- salt & pepper
- Soften the onion, garlic and spices in the vegetable oil for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the sugar and vinegar and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Add the beans and simmer for 30 minutes.
I would recommend starting off with about 1kg of beans, as you reduce the weight when you top n tail. Also .. for those larger beans, I tend to use a peeler to run along the edges to remove that “stringy” bit you sometimes get.
I cut mine into fairly small chunks .. perhaps 1cm long … but it doesn’t really matter .. it is down to your preferences. Just remember that it still needs to be easily used later!
This makes around 3-4 standard jam jar sized jars. Pack the beans down well, and fill any gaps with the liquid left.