French beans are also very sensitive to frost and can only be sown between early April and mid-July. The beans should be sown at a depth of around 2 cm, in rows spaced at around 6-8 cm. They take around 6-7 weeks to develop; when sown in early April, the French beans can be harvested in early July. The ideal harvest time can be found by breaking a bean: the pod should break cleanly, the broken edge be green and juicy and the seeds no longer than 0.8-1 cm. The beans must be picked very carefully and never stripped from the plants, as this can damage the plants. If the beans are left on the stalk for too long, they become fibrous, dry and hard.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is the most noteworthy of the vitamins French beans contain. When it comes to phytochemicals, the beans contain phenolic acids, carotenoids and saponines; phenolic acids are among the polyphenols.
Take care: raw beans are poisonous! To prepare the beans, cut off the start of the stem and the tip, pull off any long fibres, and wash. Beans are typically prepared seasoned with savory; plenty of lovage should be used for casseroles.
Beans can be stored in the fridge for 2-4 days. Preserving is a very common form of storage. Lactic acid fermentation and freezing are ideal for retaining the valuable nutrients. To preserve the beans, a 50-50 mixture of water and vinegar (balsamic vinegar is particularly delicious here) with spices (savory, onions) is brought to the boil and then filled into jars with beans that have been boiled for around 10 minutes. This is then covered. The next day, the liquid is drained, brought to the boil again and poured over the beans when boiling hot. The jars must then be sealed immediately. Broad beans can also be dried for later use in casseroles and salads.