Cropedia:Fresh Shelling Beans

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Fresh Shelling Beans


Source: [1]

Years grown at UBC Farm/LFSOG: Two

Growing conditions

Shell beans need warm soil, and require a growing season that has temperatures averaging between 70-80 degree Fahrenheit (MEN, 2010). No matter what variety is grown at the farm, it is essential that the beans have well drained soil that is rich in organic matter. pH should range between 6.0 and 7.5-lime can be worked into the soil if the soil is too acidic. As learned, legumes are able to fix their own nitrogen, so it is essential that when growing shelling beans there is not an excess of fertilizer added to the plots (MEN, 2010). Over fertilizing beans will result in a large amount of lush green leaves and foliage, but few beans produced. Possibly pertaining to the farm, or anyone else who has decided to start to grow beans. If beans are planted in a plant where they have never been planted before, it is suggested that the bean seeds are inoculated with a bacterial inoculant powder (MEN, 2010). However, please note that the seeds should not be soaked, as they are very susceptible to rot. Obviously, bean seeds do not grow very well in soggy soils, and this should be avoided at all costs when managing bean seeds (MEN, 2010).


The term shelling beans is somewhat of an oddity-common beans as well as shelling beans have their pods removed before they are used in cooking or processed (FAO). Shelling beans include lima beans, soybeans, peas, or fava beans. Shelling beans refer to a type of bean that has its shell removed and disposed of before the eating of it.

Shelling beans are referred to in many cooking circles as a "fall treat"-hence it can be assumed that the best time to find fresh shelling beans in your supermarket or at markets is towards the end of the growing season (Mariquita Farm). Beans can be cooked in their pods and tenderized in broth or water- they can easily replace cooked dry beans, and provide a healthier alternative (Foodborne) Fresh shelling beans should be stored whole and in their pods in the refrigerator. It is important to have good air circulation wherever they are stored, as they will grow mouldy otherwise (Foodborne).

Nutritional Information

Shelling beans are nutritionally similar to dry beans, but are often either steamed, fried or made into soups and stews. Due to these procedures (steaming, frying), most of their nutritional value is lost in the cooking processes, and it is recommended that to extract the highest nutritional value they should be eaten raw (FAO).

Shelling beans can be shucked and added to salads- this method of eating will ensure that the nutrition is not wasted away in cooking methods.

Nutrition Facts/Valeur Nutritive
Serving Size: 100g (raw)
Amount Per Serving %Daily Value*
Calories 31
Total Fat 0.1g
Total Carbohydrate 7g
   Sugars 1.4g
Protein 1.8g
Vitamine A 4%
Vitamine C 27%
Calcium 4%
* % Daily value based on a 2000 calorie diet


Pasta with Fresh Shelling Beans and Broccoli

2 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup chopped onion 3 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper 2 pounds loosely chopped tomatoes or 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice 1/4 cup water 1 1/2 pounds shelling beans, shelled and lightly steamed til tender/firm 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil 8 ounces orecchiette (little ear-shaped pasta; about 2 cups) or medium pasta shells 1 pound broccoli crowns, separated into small florets (about 5 cups) 3 tablespoons freshly shaved Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; stir 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes with juices and 1/4 cup water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; boil gently until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Stir in beans and basil. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook orecchiette pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 15 minutes. Add broccoli florets; cook until pasta is just tender but still firm to bite and broccoli florets are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes longer. Ladle out 1/2 cup pasta cooking water and reserve. Drain orecchiette and broccoli florets; return to pot.

Add tomato sauce and reserved pasta cooking water to pasta and toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to bowl. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Per serving: calories, 423; total fat, 10 g; saturated fat, 2 g; cholesterol, 3 mg; fiber, 11 g Makes 4 servings.

    • Adapted from Appétit**

Fresh Shelling Bean & Basil Soup

Special thanks to Mary from Mariquita Farm for this recipe. She suggests to make this recipe when fresh shelling beans are in season-the taste will be amazing with a variety of fresh shelling beans!

Serves 6

Preheat oven to 400F.


The Toasts:

6 slices chewy, country-style bread 2 table spoons olive oil 2 garlic cloves

The Soup:

1 T. extra virgin olive oil 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 yellow onion, minced 5 c. chicken broth 3-4 c. fresh shelled beans, or other shelled white beans (about 4#) 1 bay leaf 1 t. freshly ground pepper 1/4 lb. pencil-thin French haricot vert beans, cut into 2" lengths (optional) 1/2 c. basil leaves 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 400F. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and bake for 15 mins. Remove from oven and drizzle with olive oil. Return to oven and bake for another 5-10 mins. until toasts are firm and lightly golden. Remove and let cool, then rub both sides of each toast with a garlic clove. Set aside.

Soup: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the garlic and onion; cook, stirring for a minute or two, until the onion is translucent. Add the chicken broth, beans,, bay leaf and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 mins., or until the beans are soft. Taste for salt, adding more is needed. Remove the bay leaf. Remove 1 c. of the beans, puree in a processor or blender, then return them to pot. Add the optional haricot vert and simmer for a few moments, until the haricot vert are just tender. While the beans are cooking, puree the basil and olive oil. Set aside.

To Serve: Place a toast in the bottom of each soup bowl, then ladle in the soup. Add a teaspoon of the basil sauce to each, giving half a stir with the spoon to make a swirl.

Additional usage inventory



Dried beans from shelling beans can be used for decorative purposes, as seen above in the easter eggs. These easter eggs were decorated with dried beans, the instructions to make these eggs can be found below:

Egg Decoration With Everyday Kitchen Items (PurpleTrail Crafts)

Use nontoxic glue to hold different colors of dry (not cooked) rice, such as white, brown or wild rice, onto your Easter eggs. You could also use small pasta shapes, such as alphabet letters, elbow pasta, orzo (rice-shaped pasta) or shells. Or use dry beans of any kind, such as black, kidney, navy, pinto or red beans. You can even use dry split peas or lentils, or un-popped popcorn kernels. Use a small brush to spread glue on the egg, or squeeze the glue right out of the bottle to make a design on the egg shell. Use tweezers to make it easier to pick up small shapes. Press the shapes gently into the glue. For rice (and other very small shapes, like orzo) pour the rice into a bowl and simply roll the glued egg in it. Work on one small section of the egg at a time, about 1/4 of the egg at the most. Then, turn the egg and work on another section. When the design is done, let the glue dry. Use an egg carton to dry the eggs. If you’ve used a lot of glue, it might take up to 2 hours for the eggs to dry.

Academic connections

Interestingly, there is a significant invention currently being undertaken at UBC, by the UBC engineers. Their goal is to investigate and design a machine that can mechanically shuck shelling beans.


Easter eggs:

FAO, 2010. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, accessed March 21, 2010.

Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms and Natural Toxins Handbook: Phytohaemagglutinin". Bad Bug Book. United States Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 2009-07-11

Mariquita Farm.

MEN, 2010. The Original Guide to Living Wisely.

Additional notes

Lessons from the UBC farm:

  • Difficulty of Growing: 1 (on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is the easiest and 5 is the most difficult)
  • Plant early and use early maturing varieties, such as Teggia. Avoid prolonged wetness otherwise white rot (mold) will result (Tim Carter, UBC Farm Production Coordinator, personal communication, March 16, 2010).