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Looking for a new meal staple with nutrients galore? With a creamy texture and taste similar to that of a chestnut, fresh-shell cranberry beans are an heirloom variety native to Colombia that contain
all nine of the essential amino acids. Pick plump pods with tan and red-speckled exteriors for the richest flavor. Find them at farmers’ markets, or look for Bob’s Red Mill Cranberry Beans at select grocery stores nationwide ($5, bobsredmill.com).
Store It: Keep fresh, unshelled cranberry beans in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Prep It: Removing fresh beans from shells takes a little time and patience at first, but leaving them out for a day or two to promote drying can help. When beans are ready to use, simply pop open the shells and toss them directly into a colander for rinsing.
Eat It: Simmer shelled beans in your favorite broth until they become tender and tan in color, then add to chilies, soups or stews. Cranberry beans are also delicious when tossed with pasta, in bean salads or alongside huevos rancheros when you’re craving a savory breakfast.
Health Benefits: As a good source of iron, copper and protein, cranberry beans are also an excellent source of fiber and folate, both of which help control blood pressure.
Market Names: Borlotti beans, Roman beans
In Season: Late summer through fall