Why I Adore Purple Green Beans

By Laura Miller | July 15, 2022
Image by Teresa Otto
by Laura Miller
July 15, 2022

I was thrilled when purple pole beans became available in my favorite garden catalog. This was several years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I love experimenting with new or novelty vegetables and these beans fit the bill. As I hit the “add to cart” button, I was already imagining how these brightly-colored legumes would look on my dinner table.

Purple-Colored Green Beans

Imagine my disappointment when I discovered these beautiful beans lost their purple hue when they’re cooked. Yep, purple-colored beans turn to an ordinary green upon heating. Now you might think that would have deterred me from growing purple-podded beans again, but these novelty veggies have become my favorite dark-colored veggie to plant.

I’m what one might call a bean lover. I grow everything from lima, string and french beans to a variety of dry shell beans. During the winter, I use all kinds of beans in soups, stews and casseroles. In the summer, I love the crispness of lightly sautéed fresh string or French beans. 

I find all types of beans to be exceedingly easy to grow. The large seed size is quite manageable when sowing. Like most legumes, purple beans germinate and grow quickly. Plus, pole beans reach a harvestable size long before many of my other crops are ready. But if there is one thing I dislike about growing beans, it’s harvesting them. 

Picking Green Beans is Tedious Work

I prefer picking my garden string and French types of beans when they are young and tender. Yet, I find searching through bean vines to locate young pods to be time-consuming and tedious. Each year I age, I find it more difficult to distinguish the slim green beans from the green vines. This is why I adore purple green beans.

The bright purple pods stand out from the plants in much the same way as I can easily spot my ripe red tomatoes or yellow banana peppers. The contrast in colors cuts my bean-harvesting time in half. Plus, I’m less likely to miss beans. Nothing is more frustrating (and wasteful) than finding dozens of swelled, over-mature beans the next time I harvest.

So, even though the purple-podded pole bean variety growing in my garden change to an ordinary green when I cook them, I find them more convenient to harvest. In turn, this makes it more likely that I have time on any given day to pick beans for dinner. Harvesting more often stimulates pole beans to produce more pods. This leads to greater yields for the season and all because the pod is purple, not green!

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