Subscribe to our newsletter for weekly updates

Milkwood Blog

Magic Beans

April 10, 2014 | Gardening, Vegetable Gardening | 8 comments | Author:

1404 magic beans - 1

Purple Kings are one of our favourite bean crops – they’re hardy, prolific and darn tasty.

But the best bit is that they turn green when cooked. Magic beans! 

1404 magic beans - 2

1404 magic beans - 3

1404 magic beans - 4

1404 magic beans - 5

1404 magic beans - 6

1404 magic beans - 7

Purple King Beans (or Magic Beans as they’re called at our place) taste prettymuch the same as our beautiful ‘Blue Lake’ green beans, both when raw and when cooked.

They’re green inside, too, which makes them look super funky if you use them raw, sliced thinly into salads.

Their purple color comes from a naturally occurring group of chemicals called anthocyanins, which are broken down by a change in acidity.

And a direct effect of the heat of cooking causes them to loose their purpleness, as the heat drops the acidity of the bean.

There are solutions for allowing them to retain their purpleness though! First and foremost, you can eat them raw, by the bucket load.

Secondly, you can apparently soak them in vinegar or lemon juice prior to cooking to retain some of their purpleness, because this ups the acidity of the bean.

Either way, they’re wonderful.

As I said above, Purple Kings are long and hardy croppers, yielding buckets of goodness. AND because they’re purple on the vine, you can actually see them when you’re harvesting, so you don’t miss half the crop.

If you want to re-create my half-and-half beans  below, just hold the bottom half of a bunch of magic beans in simmering water for a few minutes.

If you do this, please be smarter than I was, and wear a heat-proof glove while holding the beans in the simmering water.

Otherwise you will also re-create the ouchouchouchouchouch effect, which I do not recommend.

It was worth it though! Best morning tea ever.

1404 magic beans - 1

If you want to grow these lovelies for next year, may we recommend getting in touch with your local Seedsavers Network, or try one of these fab seed suppliers:

1404 magic beans - 8
Purple Kings and Blue Lakes from the Milkwood market garden

LIKE 243
+1 0


  • swo8 April 10, 2014 at 11:28 am | Reply

    I’ve never seen them before. They would look very nice in a salad. The”re tasty too. Must have a look for them.

  • rmaccuish April 10, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Reply

    Those are beautiful! I’d never heard of them.

  • Kate Flower April 10, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Reply

    I’m assuming they are safe to plant and you won’t find a giant at the top of the bean stalk!

  • Alicia April 10, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Reply

    These are one of my favourites, so juicy! We call them magic beans too!

  • Kate April 10, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Reply

    So cool!! I’m defintely going to try to find these.

  • blueberrygirlsmiracle April 11, 2014 at 11:25 am | Reply

    Reblogged this on Blueberry Girls Miracle and commented:
    I swear, Milkwood shares the niftiest things. I love purple beans, and peas (my Blue-Podded Blauwschokkers may be my favorite because of the name and exquisitely lovely blossoms) and doing this to them is absolutely brilliant.

    Yay, Milkwood ~ way to be playful with your food! :>

  • […] Magic beans! Image by Milkwood. […]

  • shapeofthingstoni April 24, 2014 at 4:01 am | Reply

    Grew these down in Hobart last year and they did brilliantly. So pretty, tasty, and yes easier to harvest!


Blog Categories

Related Courses

Serious Backyard Veggies

May 9th-10th, 2015

Sydney, Alexandria Park Community Centre

Get serious about vegetable growing in your backyard using organic, permaculture techniques. Two days full of expert knowledge about planting, growing, nutrient cycling, harvesting and integrated pest management.

Gourmet Mushroom Cultivation

May 16th-17th, 2015

Byron Bay, The Farm

Join us for two jam-packed days of hands-on skills in edible mushroom propagation. Learn how to grow delicious oyster, shiitake and many other mushrooms at home, organically!

Gourmet Mushroom Cultivation

June 6th-7th, 2015

Sydney, 107 Rooftop Garden

Join us for two jam-packed days of hands-on skills in edible mushroom propagation. Learn how to grow delicious oyster, shiitake and many other mushrooms at home, organically!

Backyard Aquaponics

August 8th-9th, 2015

Sydney, 107 Rooftop Garden

Does growing water-wise organic herbs, leafy greens and vegetables at your back door sound good to you? How about growing fresh fish while you’re at it? Join us for a practical aquaponics workshop on how to build your own aquaponics … Continued

Serious Backyard Veggies

August 22nd-23rd, 2015

Sydney, 107 Rooftop Garden

Ready to get serious about vegetable growing in your backyard using organic techniques? Here's two days of expert knowledge to get you growing.