“ Brand: Tesco / Type: Beans „
I am all for eating a wide variety of vegetables. I love them, growing what I can and buying just about everything else from all sorts of places from the farmer's market to the supermarket. Obviously I enjoy some varieties more than others but generally I love all veggies and easily eat my five a day, I find I don't eat many beans though so when I spotted some packaged runner beans in Tesco I decided to pay the rather expensive £1.99 for them and have a pile with the turkey dinner I had planned for that evening.
Now, they might be expensive but good quality they certainly are not. As soon as I begun top and tailing these beans I was struck by how fibrous and hard to cut they were, I know runner beans usually have a fairly tough consistency but these are beyond reasonable toughness! They also appear dusty and slightly withered despite the fact that the 'best before' date was several days away, I quickly realised that I would need to use all these beans up that day as I couldn't guarantee how long they would otherwise last.
I decided to have around a third of the packet on my dinner and blanch the rest in boiling water for freezing. They took an absolute age to boil, I'm sure I had a few more grey hairs by the time they were soft enough for eating. I do generally commit the mortal sin of boiling my vegetables until softer than you are advised to, but this was a total impossibility with these as even after 20 minutes in boiling water they were still awfully solid in consistency and lacked the lovely 'squelch' I enjoy from fresh runner beans. Don't get me wrong, these beans do not have the elusive 'bite' that vegetable lovers look for - they actually stay hard and unappetising.
Once cooked they looked alright, the green was still vivid and the beans stood out beautifully on my plate. But there was no flavour to them! You could argue that I had boiled the flavour out of them, but I got the impression that even if I'd cooked these for a shorter time they would have been equally flavourless. These are simply very poor quality runner beans, in fact I have a bag of frozen runner beans which are far superior in taste to these and were a darned sight cheaper for a huge bag!
I ate the portion on my dinner and these were the only vegetables on my plate and once immersed in thick gravy they were edible at least. They soaked up some of the meaty gravy flavour and this made them much more interesting, although the toughness of the beans did mean they took much more chewing than they should. If you like runner beans then don't even bother with these, Sainsbury's do some lovely ones which have already been topped and tailed for a similar price or have a look in your local green grocers for tastier, if a little dirtier, runner beans for a fraction of the price.