This year I am on a mission to cook and eat as many different varieties of beans as possible. This is another in a series about my observations about those beans.
Good Mother Stallard is a dry shelling bean that I have grown for the last two years now. It is a pole bean with a vining habit, and a sturdy support system is advised if you are growing it. The pods turn a creamy white color as they mature, and inside there are 5-6 plump, maroon and white colored beans that can be harvested at the fresh shell or dry bean stage. With our hot humid summer weather, I generally harvest them before they are completely dry, and finish the drying process indoors where conditions are more favorable.
There is not much history available about this great tasting bean. It took a bit of digging to find that they are a family heirloom that was sent to Glenn Drowns at Sand Hill Preservation Center many years ago. The Seed Savers Exchange credits him for introducing this variety to their members back in the early 2000’s, according to their online listing for the bean. I think I first heard about this bean from fellow blogger Lynn at Wood Ridge. She is also a fan of this bean, and you can read her 2010 post on Good Mother Stallard as well.
In the kitchen, the beans lose their vivid colors when cooked, but hold their shape well. In my experience, almost none of them fall apart during cooking. This makes them an excellent soup bean, as well as for salads or pasta dishes.
In the book Heirloom Beans, bean grower extraordinaire Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo says it’s one of the first beans he reaches for in the pantry. I have used this versatile bean in several different soups, including vegetable soup and the bean and barley soup in the below photo. Like most dry beans, they freeze well after cooking, which makes it convenient when you’re in a hurry and don’t have the time to cook up a pot of beans.
They work well in dishes that might call for a borlotti or cranberry bean, such as the classic Italian Pasta Fagioli. If you look closely in the below photo of my version of Pasta e Fagioli, you can still see some of the markings on the beans even after cooking. Their rich and meaty taste also makes them great on their own as a side dish.
Seeds for growing this variety are available from several sources in the U.S. including Baker Creek and the Seed Savers Exchange. You can buy the beans for cooking from Rancho Gordo, Elegant Beans and Beyond, and the Seed Savers Exchange. As always, I would love to hear about others experiences with growing or cooking these beans.
I hope you have enjoyed this review of the Good Mother Stallard beans, and I will be back soon with another bean review. Until then, Happy Growing (and eating) from Happy Acres!