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!
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.
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: