Everything you need to know about preparing and cooking runner beans, plus ten of our favourite recipes using them.
Here are our top tips and ideas to make the most of these brilliant beans.
Runner beans have a short season. In the UK runner beans are in season from July until September. And, as any keen gardener will know, they taste even better when you grow your own.
When buying runner beans select young small pods that are still firm. The old ones can be stringy and tough and not very nice to eat. Fresh beans will still have a snap when broken. They keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days.
How to prepare and cook runner beans
Wash the beans then top and tail and string. To top and tail cut off a couple of mm from each end of the bean. Then use a peeler or knife to strip off the stringy edges.
Cut the beans into either oblique shapes by chopping diagonally, or cut lengthways three or four time, to create long strips. To make this task easier you can use a bean slicer tool to do this.
If you have lots of beans to prepair it can be faster to hold the blade of a small knife between your thumb and top of your forefinger. Pinch the top of the bean against the knife and twist your hand to snap the pointy top of the bean. This way the top will stay attached to any stringy bits and you can peel them off.
You can boil or steam runner beans.
To boil: bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Add the prepaired beans and cook until tender, about 5 – 10 mins.
To steam: steaming runner beans will take longer, about 20 mins. Add them to a steaming basket with the lid on the pan.
To stiry fry: you can also stir fry runner beans or add to stews are casseroles.
How to freeze runner beans
Runner beans are seasonal and often tricky to get hold of out of season. So storing beans in the freezer is a great way to ensure that you have a supply all year round.
We recommend washing and cutting the runnern beans, then blanching for 3 mins in boiling water. Freeze the cooled beans in a freezer bag. The frozen beans will keep well for about three months.
You can cook the prepared beans from frozen. Just add to boiling water, bring back to the boil, and cook until tender (about 5 mins).
For more advice read our guide on the best way to freeze foods, including vegetables, meats, cakes and other items.
Our top 10 runner bean recipes
Make the most of these seasonal beauties with these top 10 runner bean recipes.
A sausage bake is always a hit. This is a popular recipe on the Good to Know website. It has over 200 reviews. The ingredients are relativity cheap, plus you bung it all in one dish, so you save on the washing up too!
Get the recipe: Sausage bake recipe
Good to Know Food Writer Jessica Ransom favours this method of cooking runner beans; she loves to stir-fry them as they keep their nice crunchy texture. Jessica suggests “using them instead of Tenderstem broccoli and season with chilli, garlic and soy”.
Try this simple five veg stir-fry recipe, it’s bursting with green veggie goodness.
Get the recipe: Five veg stir-fry
We love this hearty salad that can be served warm or cool. Perfect as an easy but impressive side dish. The dressing contains roasted cumin seeds and mild green chilli for a warming kick.
Get the recipe: Slimming World mixed summer bean salad recipe
This dish really is a tasty treat. It’s a little time consuming to make, but worth the effort as the result is absolutely delicious. The runner beans are a lovely fresh flavour addition to cut through the fattiness of the pork.
Get the recipe: Belly pork with green bean tapenade recipe
Plaice is a delicious delicate fish, often overlooked. It’s best, as it is here, doused in oodles of glorious butter sauce. It’s simple and quick to cook.
Get the recipe: Buttery plaice recipe
Runner beans really lend themselves to being in salads. They have a lovely crunch and brilliant vibrant colour.
Get the recipe: Runner bean and tenderstem broccoli salad
An easy-peasy noodle dish that makes the most of the best seasonal summer ingredients.
Get the recipe: Summer vegetable spaghetti recipe
Another yummy speedy pasta courtesy of Slimming World. This is a great option if you are working on reducing your calorie intake. It’s low fat and ready in 20 mins.
Get the recipe: Slimming World’s garlic and thyme chicken with vegetable penne recipe
All the classic flavours make for the ultimate Sunday roast dinner recipe.
Mint is sublime with peas and beans, as it amplifies their gorgeous beany flavour and adds a lovely freshness to this dish.
Get the recipe: Balsamic lamb chops with minted beans recipe