Beauty uncontained

Have you ever seen anything so beautiful? I’m not sure I want to eat them: I could just sit and stare at them for hours on end, marvelling at their cream-and-maroon speckled loveliness. Hard to believe something so perfect could come from my allotment.

They are of course borlotti beans. I’ve grown them this year for the first time and I’ve been harvesting them for a month or so now. And with that statement comes a little confession: I’ve never eaten borlotti beans, no idea whether or not I like the taste, don’t have any particular recipes I’m dying to try them in. And you know what, I’m not sure I’m even bothered about eating them.

You see, I only grew them because I think they look really pretty. There. I’ve said it. As a regular reader of this blog you may have fallen for the misconception that I am an uber-professional gardener, channeling nature’s power to produce previously unseen quantities of hihg class fruit and vegetable for domestic consumption.

But no. I am in fact a shabbily amateurish and staggeringly shallow incompetent. Not only that, but I grow perfectly edible vegetables simply because I like to sit and look at them.

Still, at least if you’re going to do it you may as well do it in style. And you don’t get more stylish than the borlotti. These glamorous Italians just ooze class, from the gently dappled pods that house the beans in their pearl-coloured beds to the beans themselves, little orbs of richly hued beauty. Sitting in their storage jar on my shelf they look more like a jar of sweets in a Victorian shop that a tub of dried vegetables.

And it gets better than that. Another big attraction of the borlotti is the ease of growing: once they’re up and running you don’t have to worry about picking them at just the right time. As long as you’re happy to store them for use as dried beans and not eat them fresh you can just leave them on the plant while it fades and dies. This has the happy side effect of effectively drying the beans for you. A couple of days somewhere dry indoors and the crisp papery pods are ready to be relieved of their bounty for storage.

But enough of the growing tips. If you’ll excuse me there’s a  jar in my kitchen that needs someone to sit and stare adoringly at it.

On the ipod while in a state of bliss: Babybird / You’re gorgeous. Oh you are, you lovely little beans, you are