My Beans are Gay

My beans are gay. Let me explain.

This morning I was messing around with Facebook Live Streaming. You know, that new thing where you point your phone’s camera at yourself and hope a lot of people will watch your antics. But I actually had a question I needed advice on from my Facebook followers.

You’ll see from the video above that I accidentally planted Royal Burgundy Bush Beans. I say “accidentally” because 1.) I thought I had planted pole beans (and was desperately trying to make them climb—which the plants, for some inexplicable reason, refused to do), and 2.) I didn’t consider the color purple even when there was a basket of plump purple beans on the package. I figured it meant Burgundy as in Burgundy, France, or, you know, Burgundy, Wisconsin. (Is there a Burgundy, Wisconsin?)

But what I found this morning when I was weeding were dozens of gorgeous purple beans! I mean Prince-worthy purple beans. I was shocked and excited. So at breakfast I risked public ridicule and, while unkempt and unshaved, I pulled out my phone, started streaming and asked my followers for suggestions for how to cook these jewel-toned gems. To my dismay, what I heard again and again was that they turn green when cooked. Impossible! (That should be said with a French accent to go with my French accident.)

I doubted every single person who told me that. Somehow, I felt my beans were better, special, that they’d retain their perfect, flamboyant, outrageous shade of purple. But sadly, as they blanched in the water, the color blanched from them. They ended up looking like pedestrian, run-of-the-mill, supermarket-variety beans.

Bottom line: Royal Burgundy Bush Beans are nothing more than queeny poseur green beans in colorful drag.

I’m as disappointed as when I discovered there was no Santa Claus and that most men grossly overestimate the length of a true, U.S.-standard inch. (Think about it. It’ll hit in you a minute or two.)

Blanched Green BeansSo, here they are. My blush-less, colorless, deeply discouraging Royal Burgundy Bush Beans. As far as taste, they were marvelous: sweet and a bit earthy. I served them with a drizzle of chive blossom vinegar and a spritz of sea salt. But they were still green.

Tell me: How do your serve your traitorous purple (read: green green beans)?

David Leite's signature



  1. Sorry I am late to the party. Web says that heat and acidity destroy the delicate anthocyanins.

    “The way to prevent or lessen the color change of any cooked purple vegetable is to soak it before cooking in vinegar or lemon juice, increasing the acidity. Then minimize cooking. Because anthocyanins are tasteless, preserving the purple color will have no effect on flavor.”

    Sounds like some experiments would do. I doubt boiling will ever work. Can you boil beans in a light acidic vinegar water?

  2. Did you try microwaving them? Red Ruby Corn has to be microwaved to retain its fab red color- maybe the beans, too…

  3. I am always so late to the party!

    Loved and intrigued by the “purple” beans, and upset that they didn’t stay purple…. another dark color to the veggie repertoire foiled (not a kale fan).

    Please continue to do the live streaming, it is soooooo much fun!

  4. Are they purple or green inside? One of my biggest vegetable disappointments was purple bell pepper. I had gotten bell peppers in every color I could find, with the intent of making a gloriously beautiful pizza. Disappointment #1 was when I cut into the purple pepper, only to discover that the inside was as green as the green pepper, and it tasted like a green pepper rather than more like a red or orange or yellow pepper. Disappointment #2 was when the pizza came out of the oven, and the outside of the purple pepper was green as well. I was scarred enough that I haven’t bought another purple pepper in the intervening 20 years.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Upload a picture of your dish