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Flageolet Shelling Beans
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Produced in an inedible pod, Flageolet Shelling beans are distinguished by their small, kidney-shaped beans and pale lime green coloring. Their attractive pale green color is unique to their species and their size is notably dwarf. When picked young, fresh and semi-dry they are at their most optimal eating state. The Flageolet Shelling beans are creamy and firm in texture, nutty, sweet and mellow in flavor.
Fresh Flageolet Shelling beans are available during the summer.
The Flageolet Shelling bean is an heirloom bush bean variety and members of the Phaseolus vulgaris genus, the most widely cultivated genre of beans in the world. The original cultivar of Flageolet beans (Soisson Vert à Rames) is only available to a few select growers in the world, of which, one is Seed Savers Exchange within the United States. Flageolet beans are also known to show up in other colors including yellow, black, red and white. The Flageolet Shelling beans are also their seeds. Seeds left on the plant or harvested to dry can be saved and sown for future crops.
Although Flageolets are often harvested as a fresh bean, dried Flageolets make a great soup or puree. These beans, unlike other shelling beans do not typically require soaking. Cook them low and slow and their texture will continue to get buttery, making for a sweet, rich brothy and creamy soup or puree. Cooking times will be shorter as soaking is not required. Complimentary pairings include bacon, ham, corn, chiles, tomatoes, chicken, cumin. garlic, oregano, stewed pork, cooked eggs, cream, herbs such as cilantro, arugula, mint and basil, melting and fresh cheeses, light-bodied vinegars, feta, citrus, pea tendrils, roasted fish and beef, bitter and mild greens, butter and olive oil.
The Flageolet bean is both rare (endangered heirloom status) and famous! Its notoriety began briefly after its cultivation in 1872, as it was introduced at the International Paris Exposition in 1878. It became a favorite of the legendary chef, Escoffie, his validation brought the Flageolet elite status that has nearly unwavered in over 100 years. Flageoet Shelling beans are best suited for arid and coastal Mediterranean climates with rich organic soil and warm to hot summers. They are grown throughout temperate Europe and North America.