Runner beans have been growing in South America for over 2,000 years, and are a popular garden vegetable in Britain too. Stronger in flavour and coarser in texture than green beans, they are also much longer and have attractive purple beans inside the pods.
Choose the best
Look for young, crisp, tender beans which feel for firm and fresh pods.
Top, tail and string runner beans by carefully sliding the knife into the top of the bean without cutting right through it; if a thick thread comes away, the beans will need to be stringed. The beans can then be sliced horizontally.
Use runner beans as soon as possible after buying as they don't keep long. Keep in a paper bag in the fridge for 2 - 3 days.
Boil runner beans until al dente.
Try broad bean or pea.