How to grow borlotti beans

A guide on how to grow and harvest borlotti beans, plus three great recipes for using them in your kitchen.

How to grow borlotti beans

These beautiful and versatile beans are a fantastic candidate for grow-your-own as they’re almost impossible to buy fresh in the shops. They are fabulous fresh in salads or simply drizzled with olive oil and can be used in soups and stews. They can be grown in large pots to climb up teepees and are prized for their speckled beauty.

Growing
Start borlotti beans off in pots on a windowsill or greenhouse from March until the end of June. Sow seeds 4cm deep in 7.5cm pots filled with seed compost, and water. They should be ready to go outside seven weeks later, when 7cm tall. Climbing varieties, such as Lamon, are best in a raised bed – either up a cane wigwam or in rows, 15cm apart, with 50cm between rows that are supported by canes. Dwarf varieties like Saluggia can be planted 10cm apart in large pots with sticks for support.

Harvesting
Pick from late summer, when the beans swell and pods crack.

How to eat them
Once you have boiled your fresh borlotti beans, they make a wonderful addition to salads, soups or stews or cooked in a tomato sauce, similar to baked beans.

Here are three of our favourite recipes using borlotti beans…

Borlotti and runner beans with sage, tomato and garlic

Mixed bean and bacon stew

Two-bean soup with fresh pesto

Find more bean recipes here.

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