Smarties!” I’ve heard kids shriek with delight as they open the pods of scarlet runner beans — and though they definitely don’t taste like chocolate, if you’ve never grown magically colourful scarlet runner beans, you’re missing out.
Through spring and summer, scarlet red flowers appear on a tall and vigorous vine that produces green bean pods. Delicious cooked when still small — just as you would any other green bean — the pods can even be eaten raw.
Once the beans have started to develop seeds inside the pods and become fibrous, they can no longer be eaten raw, but that’s fine in my book because the next stage is the most exciting.
As the pods grow bigger, the seeds inside swell and transform into the most incredible hot pink colour; it’s well worth a peek at this stage. Then, as the pods mature and begin to dry off, the seeds change again, this time to speckled purple and black. At this stage, the seeds can be podded and either cooked immediately or dried for cooking with later on — or for planting again next year.
GROWING AND CARE
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Good Organic Gardening #11.3