Bean There, Done That: Legumes in the Greenmarkets This Week


The cranberry beans inside are every bit as colorful as the pods.

We’ve had string beans and wax beans and their brethren in local farmers’ markets for over a month by now, but other legumes take longer to grow, and the last few days have furnished a bumper crop.

Even though you may have hated lima beans as a kid, you’ll probably love them now.

These varieties tend to be the kind where you shell them and eat only the beans inside. Fresh beans are so tender, you may choose to eat them raw, or sauté them very briefly in olive oil, and then shake on some sea salt. They are the essence of late summer, and high in protein as well.

This past week at various markets in Brooklyn and Manhattan, we’ve stumbled on cranberry beans, garbanzos, lima beans, edamame, and — mother of all beans — favas. They excel in a salad raw, but you may want to experiment, too. While you’ve been exposed to canned and dried garbanzos (a/k/a chickpeas), you’ve probably never had them fresh. They make an amazing hummus if lightly steamed and then put in a food processer with raw garlic, tahini, and salt. Break out the pita chips!

Edamame, or fresh soybeans, don’t taste all that different from the frozen variety, and no matter how long you cook them, they never soften.

Here’s what fresh chickpeas look like; you should remove the husks before cooking or eating raw.