Every allotment across the country will have plots studded with elongated wigwams. If, back in early spring, you were wondering what they were, July offers the answer: they are supports for runner beans.
A late starter, the bean needs warm soil. The legume lives up to its name by shooting up bamboo poles quickly through May and June before throwing out a host of red flowers. These are pollinated by bees and soon long pods develop. The beans need to be picked young – not more than 8-9 inches long – and steamed or boiled and then tossed in butter. Old runner beans can be stringy and the husks around the growing seeds can feel like a mouthful of sandpaper, so is best avoided.
- Runner beans 2 lbs
- White onions 4
- Demerara sugar 1 ½ lbs
- Turmeric powder 1 ½ tbsp
- English mustard powder 1 ½ tbsp
- White vinegar 1 1/4 pints
- Cornflour 1 tbsp
Freshly picked runner beans are a tasty addition to any meal – and packed full of vitamin C, folic acid, protein and fibre.