Haricot Bean: Varieties

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About
Haricot bean plants show two distinct patterns of growth: pole beans which develop into vines and need support, and bush or dwarf beans which are low growers. There are many varieties of both, adapted to various climates, countries, market requirements, etc. There are four main ways of consuming beans: either they can be picked early and the tender pods eaten; or the beans can be ‘popped’; or the fresh green beans can be eaten without the pods; or the beans can be dried before consumption. Generally speaking, any given variety is best used in one of these four ways; and the simplest method of categorizing varieties is by end use. However, the dividing lines are not clear-cut; it must be remembered that many beans in the third group are also available in dried form and many in the fourth group are eaten fresh in season.