A Romano bean is a kind of Italian flat bean belonging to the same family as the garden variety string beans and is closely related to French haricot verts and yellow wax beans. When you look at a Romano bean, you will notice that they are usually broad and flat. It is as if someone flattened a giant string bean. Romano beans are typically string-less when they are young and the seam opens very easily, revealing green or white peas – usually between 5 to 6 peas. They eventually develop a tough string when they mature. The length of a Romano bean varies between four to six inches.
Species: P. vulgaris
Romano Bean Trivia
- Other names for Romano beans include Italian pole beans, Italian flat beans, and helda beans.
- In some Indian states, Romano beans are called sem fhali.
- Do not confuse Romano bean with Roman bean or borlotti. These are two different beans.
- Beans are considered an ancient food.
- In Italy, Romano beans are sometimes called fagioli a corallo.
Romano Bean Buying Guide
Romano beans are sold in supermarkets, groceries, specialty stores, and farmers markets. Don’t be surprised if there is more than one color of Romano beans. It is common to find a green, yellow, or purple Romano beans. Check the condition of the Romano beans to see if these are still fresh and ideal for cooking and consumption. Check for spots or discoloration or bruised parts. While you can store any leftover and uncooked Romano beans in the refrigerator, it is advisable to buy just enough to cook and eat for 1 to 2 days, unless the Romano beans supply in your area is scarce and there is no guarantee when the next batch will be available for consumers. This is true especially if it is near the end of the Romano beans season. After the summer and fall months, fresh Romano beans may be difficult to come by.
If you are buying seeds to grow, consider which of the two types of Romano beans you want. Some want the bush-type variety for its appeal. Others like the climbing-type Romano beans because they don’t require too much space so long as there is trellis the plant can use to climb up.
Some examples of Romano beans varieties include:
- Bush Romano
Romano Bean Production & Farming in Texas
A common problem among Texas growers of pole beans like Romano beans is difficulty getting production. It might help following these tips. Avoid using heavy, clay soil. Make sure they get at least six hours of sunlight. Do not let the plant dry and without water for four days or more. Romano beans are nitrogen fixers so there is no need to fertilize the plant. Make sure the seeds of Romano beans are directly planted into the garden only after the danger of frost has passed. This means that the soil temperature should be at around 60 degrees F. If you are thinking of pre-soaking the seeds before planting them, make sure it is only for a few hours before planting. This helps in speeding up germination. Just be careful not to damage the seed coat when planting. Romano beans require a warm temperature during first sprouting. The good news is after this, the plant becomes drought, heat, cold, and pest tolerant. Finally, grow Romano beans in the fall since this produces a better-tasting yield compared to beans produced in the spring.
Texas A&M recommends these varieties of Romano beans to plant in Texas, which, according to Texas A&M, are expected to produce high yields of excellent quality beans.
- Kentucky Wonder
- Blue Lake
Or if you want, you can consider these varieties too.
- Capitano Romano Beans
- Romano Purport Romano Beans
- Jumbo Romano Beans
- Dragon Langerie/Dragon’s Tongue Romano Beans
One Texas-based company – National Produce Consultants LLC from Plano, Texas – is involved in the business of selling Romano beans. Expect small, local farming businesses in Texas to explore growing and selling Romano beans and selling them in the nearby farmers market.
A typical enemy of the Romano bean plant is the Mexican bean beetle. Left unchecked, this pest will munch all the leaves of the plant. Before you head out to buy a pesticide, consider some of these organic methods to deter Mexican bean beetle infestation and drive them away for good. First, bring in parasitic wasps in the garden. If you plant dill, sweet alyssum, or cosmos, parasitic wasps will come and they will deal with the Mexican bean beetle. Ladybugs, green lacewing, and minute pirate bugs are great reinforcements too! You can also use a floating row cover so that beetles can’t get to the foliage. You can also use Diatomaceous earth, kaolin clay, insecticidal soap, or spray that contains azadirachtin. If all else fails, use botanical insecticides.
As the name suggests, Romano beans are native to Italy.
It is common to see loose Romano beans heaped in a pile by the vendor selling this item in the market. In groceries, you can find Romano beans inside a sealed plastic pack. Shelled Romano beans are sold in cans. This is because Romano beans are considered a popular canning bean.
Enjoying Romano Beans
Romano beans are ubiquitous in Italian cuisine and Italians love eating them. When you eat Romano beans, you will notice that they taste sweet and they are crunchy, and generally have a meaty texture. In terms of texture, you can say Romano beans are less delicate compared to green beans. You can eat them raw or cooked. When eating it raw, it is best to pair it with a nice dip.
Romano beans keep well inside the refrigerator for as long as one week so long as it is inside a clean and secure bag. But you should use it for 3 to 4 days only. Make sure you wash these first so that you’ll store them clean.
If this is the first time you have been handed Romano beans and you are wondering how to cook these, here are a few suggestions. You can simply blanch these, or lay them down on the grill for a smoky flavor and add lemon juice and some olive oil. You can also use them when you make slow-cook stew. If you want to preserve them, you can pickle Romano beans too. It is normal to cook the whole pod of a Romano bean, although some people want Romano beans de-husked or shelled, which is normal too. Romano beans go well with other ingredients like arugula, mozzarella cheese, mustard vinaigrette, shallot, chives, tomatoes, bacon, and walnuts.
If you are thinking of what to use alongside Romano beans in terms of flavoring, you can use garlic, shallots, tomato, ginger, oregano, sage, or parsley. Alongside meat, you can have Romano beans with pancetta or sausages. In terms of condiment, it is great with vinegar and Dijon mustard. Romano beans are also great with chickpeas, olives, and hazelnut.
One of the important things to know regarding cooking Romano beans is that they can stand long cooking but if you overcook it, you will notice a slight mucilage. If you’ve seen overcooked okra, then this looks somewhat like this. Having said that, Romano beans are very versatile. You can have these boiled, sautéed, steamed, braised, grilled, or deep-fried.
Romano beans give you dietary fiber, protein, iron, and potassium. Making Romano beans a part of your regular diet improves your body’s ability to digest food because of the dietary fiber you are taking in. Eating Romano beans also means you are getting vitamin K and calcium. This is important both for young and old alike because Romano beans can help make your bones stronger and reduce susceptibility to bone-related issues like suffering from a fracture.