Sowing Borlotti Beans

April (under cover) to July is the time to sow borlotti beans. These are fat speckled beans which keep all winter and are marvellous in minestrone or any bean dish. We are eating the last of ours just as the first seedlings push up in little pots indoors. Grow them up sticks, like runner beans, and don't pick the pods until the autumn, when they are completely dry. Keep them indoors until they are REALLY dry, then split the pods, roll out the beans, and store them in a jar or plastic box. Before cooking, soak them overnight, then simmer for about an hour. Add salt only when cooked.

City Leaf says: "Yum. Apparently, borlotti are also known as toman or romano beans. I have seen recipes for cooking the fresh beans - boil, then toss with lemon and olive oil. Haven't tried yet, though!"