Runner beans are flexible, easy to grow and cook vegetables that sadly do not get the recognition they deserve. How to cook runner beans covers the basics of how to boil, steam, microwave your runner beans.
To cook runner beans you need to wash them, top and tail them. If they have strings, string them. You then slice them up and cook them in water for a few minutes. I have put the full detailed instructions along with pictures below.
If you prefer you can also add them to soups, stews, and rice dishes, etc. They are a great addition to any freezer for a quick and easy meal and healthy food sources.
How to Cook Runner Beans
Cooking runner beans from the garden isn’t really any different than cooking them from the shops except that you may need a little more preparation. There is nothing quite like newly picked fresh runner beans from your own garden. Just remember not to let them get too big or they become tough and stringy.
Prepare Your Runner Beans for Cooking
If you have fresh uncut runner beans you need to make them ready for cooking.
- Wash your runner beans in cold water. Make sure you get any debris off of them.
- Check for any damage or holes. Cast to one side or cut open to check and use part of the bean
- top and tail your beans, simply trim each end off.
- If you have strings down the sides remove them. If you have stringless beans you should be OK if you haven’t left them too long.
- slice your beans an angle this gives you long beans and allows you to double check they are OK inside
- Pop your beans into the water ready to cook or blanch.
Wash your runner beans under the tap to remove any dirt, debris and pesticides if you are not using organic beans.
Trim the ends off your beans, top and tail them.
If you have stringless beans you are not ready to cut them up into smaller sizes. If you have string beans you need to de string them by removing the strings along the edges.
They are now ready to put into a pot for cooking. Below there are a couple of choices on how to cook your runner beans from hob, microwave, steaming.
How to Cook Your Beans on the Hob
Cooking your runner beans on the hob couldn’t be easier. You can either boil or steam them
Boil Your Runner Beans on the Hob
- Preheat your hob to medium heat.
- Put your pre-prepared runner beans into a saucepan and cover with boiling water.
- Add salt if you prefer.
- Cover with a lid and simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes or until they are tender.
- Remove from the heat, drain the water and serve immediately.
Steam Your Runner Beans on the Hob
You can stem runner beans. Some people prefer to steam rather than immerse them in water. I love to steam my veg when I am cooking other things like potatoes below. I have a steamer like the one below. Steaming is easier, can be cheaper than using a separate ring and the beans don’t feel as saturated with water as boiling, it really depends on how you cook and your preferences.
- Prepare your runner beans as above.
- Preheat your hob.
- Put boiling water into the base of your steamer or saucepan if you are using a steamer basket.
- Place your runner beans into the next pan up.
- Allow cooking via steam through the holes.
- They should take between 3 and 5 minutes to cook using a steamer.
- When they are cooked to how you like them, remove them carefully avoiding the steam, from the heat and serve.
Cook Your Runner Beans in a Microwave for Ease
These instructions are for fresh beans. If you have frozen simply follow the instructions on the packet or allow extra time for garden frozen beans.
- Prepare your runner beans as normal.
- Place them into a microwavable dish with a lid and an open vent.
- Add water to cover the beans.
- Place on lid check vent is open.
- Cook for about 5 minutes. The time depends on how well cooked you like your beans.
- Remove and drain and the beans are ready to serve.
You can also steam your beans in a microwave steamer they will be less squeaky.
Do You Eat the Whole Runner Bean?
Yes, you can eat the whole runner bean if you prefer. However, they still must be cooked. I don’t if they come from the garden as I sue the cutting up as a chance to check inside of them for flaws. If you want to use the whole runner bean simply follow the steps above, however, do not cut them up, you can choose to top and tail them (cut off the ends) or leave them on. If you want to do this it is best to use young beans.
I have a Dinner Party and am Strapped for Time, Can I Prepare My Runner Beans in Advance?
Yes you can prepare your beans in advance. Simple prepare your runner beans as above cover them in water and pop them in the fridge. Although you can leave them longer I prefer not to leave them more than a day like this. If you want to leave for longer periods you can blanch them and freeze them.(covered).