Types of Beans

Types, Selection and Storage

The most common type of bean in Australia are round green beans, round beans encompass a number of varieties including Hicock, Emerald and Concessa, Concessa are the best of these and are also referred to as a baby bean or French bean. Round beans can be machine or hand picked. Hand picked beans are of the best quality but are more expensive. Beans also encompass; flat beans, Italian flat beans, snake beans, butter beans, and broad beans. At certain times of the year beans that can also be eaten dry are available fresh including, soy beans, lima beans and borlotti beans. Choose beans that are crisp and unwrinkled with undamaged ends and no dampness or discolouration. Store in the crisper section of the refrigerator.


When using unpodded whole beans top and tail the beans and remove any strings. Use beans whole or cut into sections. Green beans including flat beans, round beans and snake beans can become drab if not boiled in sufficient water as the chlorophyll in the bean reacts with acids in the water. To stop the colour of green beans fading when boiling use lots of lightly salted water and leave the pan uncovered. Beans are ready when they are crunchy but sweet. Beans are good with parmesan, feta, beetroot, nuts, prawns, olives, celery and spring onions.

Nutrition Information

Beans have lots of fibre and iron as well as Vitamin B and Folate.

Broad Beans

Broad beans are large green flat pods that contain large seeds. They are also known as fava and shell beans. Generally the pod is discarded and the seeds are used. Broad beans can be eaten raw (though some people are allergic to raw broad beans) or steamed, boiled or braised. Broad beans, especially when more mature are best double podded. To do this place in boiling water for a couple of minutes, drain and run under cold water and then slip the pod out of its outer skin. Podded broad beans can be frozen for later use. At the end of the season use the seeds in purees and dips as they can be mealy.


Broad beans are available between June-October/November.

Butter Beans

These are a light yellow variety of round or green beans also called yellow beans. Butter beans deteriorate faster than other beans and should be used soon after purchasing.


Butter beans are available all year round but are best December – May.

Round Beans

Round beans are a great versatile all round bean that can be either hand picked or machine picked. Look for hand picked beans for the best quality round beans.


available all year round but peak season is November- March.

Snake Beans

Snake beans are also called the Chinese bean and are commonly used in South East Asian cooking. They are a long bean that are often sold in bunches and can be cooked whole or in pieces.


All year round.

Borlotti Beans

Fresh borlotti beans have off white pods with red/pink splodges. They are also know as cranberry beans and French horticultural beans.  The shell is inedible, but the borlotti beans pods inside are a delicious fresh and dried with a nutty flavour and a creamy texture.


Australian fresh borlotti beans are generally available January-March and July- November.