Giant brown beans?

I just bought very large two-tone brown beans at a Greek market in Astoria. They're as big as the more common Giant White Beans. What are they and how are they best used?

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17 Comments

Maedl March 13, 2016
I think you have a Greek variety of an heirloom bean grown in the Steiermark, the region around Graz in Austria. These beans were brought from the Americas to Spain and England in the 1500s and eventually spread throughout Europe, as far as Turkey. They are called Käferbohnen (bug beans) and are prized for their creamy consistency and nutty flavor. You see them at famers markets in Graz and other towns in the region during the mid summer. You can google 'kaeferbohnen recipes" and you should find some Central European recipes. I think if you wanted to cook them Greek style, you could use a recipe for gigantes beans.
 
Maedl March 13, 2016
See https://www.steirische-spezialitaeten.at/ausfluege for photos.

 
Maedl March 13, 2016
I looked up scarlet runner beans and suspect they are the N. American version of Käferbohnen. It makes sense that they would look a bit different because the beans have been spread so widely that it is inevitable that local differences would result.
 
RussellW March 13, 2016
Thanks very much. These were only 2.99 a pound, compared to 5.99 a pound for the gigantes. I'll cook them later this week.
 
Greenstuff March 13, 2016
Thinking about your beans inspired me to cook my own scarlet runner beans. I'm going to use them in another QueenSashi recipe, Prebanac or Serbian Baked Beans https://food52.com/recipes/19697-prebranac-serbian-baked-beans I've made before with Christmas limas, which are quite similar, and it was genius.
 
Susan W. March 13, 2016
Wow. Those are very brown. Here is my all time favorite recipe for Gigante beans. Absolutely delicious. You can easily adapt it to stovetop or oven if you aren't a slow cooker person.
http://www.alexandracooks.com/2015/01/15/slow-cooker-gigante-beans-tomatoes-pancetta/
 
RussellW March 13, 2016
Thanks. I'll try it.
 
Greenstuff March 13, 2016
I was betting on scarlet runner beans before I saw the picture, and I think you could look for recipes for them or for Christmas limas and be happy. Here's one example, from current contest finalist Queen Sashy
https://food52.com/recipes/20741-chestnut-and-mushroom-ragout

Notice that her beans were also unidentified in the market! Let us know if you find out anything about the variety, and meanwhile, enjoy them.


 
RussellW March 13, 2016
Thanks. You're right.
 
702551 March 13, 2016
They look a little like scarlet runner beans but those are way more pink than brown.

Again, your best chance of correctly identifying them would be to contact the merchant. Only they are going to know for certain what they are.

Just pick up the phone and call them.
 
RussellW March 13, 2016
I asked at the market where I bought them. They said they're like gigantes, but weren't able to provide more information. I bought them anyway, hoping that some research would provide answers.
 
702551 March 13, 2016
You probably asked some clueless clerk or shelf stocker. There is clearly someone who knows what they are because a buyer is ordering these from a wholesaler.

I'd call again on a weekday and ask to speak to the person who is in charge of buying these beans. Stores that want to stay in business don't just buy random undocumented items.

Good luck.
 
RussellW March 13, 2016
Here's a picture
Answer image
 
Greenstuff March 13, 2016
Post a picture if you can.
 
scruz March 12, 2016
fresh or dried? favas?
 
Susan W. March 12, 2016
I'm curious about these. I've lived in Greece, travelled to Greece and come from a Greek family. I don't know of two-toned Gigante beans. That means next to nothing. As CV said, there are so many cultivars, it's impossible to say. Did you not ask the seller about them?
 
702551 March 12, 2016
You are best posing this question to the market where you bought the beans. There are literally thousands of bean cultivars on this planet.

Good luck.
 
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