Also known as borlotti, pink-flecked cranberry beans are available fresh in the late summer and fall. Creamy and flavorful, they’re delicious in soups or stews or can be tossed with olive oil and herbs for a simple side dish (though they lose their gorgeous coloring once cooked). If fresh cranberry beans are no longer available in your area, buy dried ones and soak overnight before cooking.
How to Store: Fresh, unshelled cranberry beans can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for three to four days. Dried cranberry beans stored in a cool, dry area will keep for up to a year.
How to Cook: Fresh cranberry beans are very easy to shuck. One pound of beans in the pod yields about 1 1/3 cups shucked beans, or enough for about two to three people. To cook, shell the beans and put them in a medium saucepan. Cover with cold water, bring to a boil, and cook until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. To cook dried cranberry beans, soak overnight in plenty of water. Drain beans, transfer to a medium saucepan, and cover with water by two inches. Bring water to a boil and simmer beans until tender, about 30 to 45 minutes.
What to Make:
Fresh Cranberry Bean and Arugula Salad [Brooklyn Farmhouse]
So simple: just beans, arugula, and herbs dressed with a garlicky vinaigrette.
Cranberry Bean Gratin [Martha Stewart]
WWMD (What Would Martha Do) with cranberry beans? Sauté them with aromatic vegetables and bake in a gratin dish topped with crispy breadcrumbs.
Borlotti Bean Mole with Roasted Squash [101 Cookbooks]
Intimidated by mole? The easy version in this recipe inspired by Denis Cotter's Wild Garlic, Gooseberries...and Me is a good place to start.
Fresh Cranberry Bean Soup with Basil-Walnut Pesto [Food 52]
You can't have a round-up of cranberry bean recipes without including a soup. This one is puréed until velvety and topped with a dollop of fragrant basil-walnut pesto.
8-Hour Baked Beans [Stone Soup]
Pop some beans, a ham hock, and canned tomatoes in the oven and cook overnight over low heat for a showstopping make-ahead brunch.