Get to Know Fresh Cranberry Beans

Have you ever cooked Cranberry beans? Cranberry beans are smooth, pinkish, oval-shaped beans with gorgeous dark-red speckles. Learn how to choose the best fresh cranberry beans.

Shelling beans, like these cranberry beans, are…beans (your reaction to this news). This means they belong to the legume family, along with green beanspeas, and other less obvious members of the tribe, like jicama.

If you aren’t quite sure what the term “shelling bean” refers to, refresh your memory of a bean’s lifecycle, courtesy of Deborah Madison. She explains that whether beans grow on bushes or poles, they can be eaten at three different stages: first as green beans or snap beans (which can also be purple and yellow); then as shelling beans (when the bean seed has formed but is not yet dried); and finally, as dried beans. Of course not all types of beans can be eaten at all three stages — some types we tend to only eat at the green bean stage, while with others, we eat only the bean and not the pod.

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