Not your average lowly legume, Tarbais beans are an edible tour de force. The ultra-creamy beans are the quintessential ingredient in cassoulet – but they’re good for much more. Dip in for a little history and some ideas of how to enjoy these extraordinary beans.
Haricot Tarbais are a type of pole bean, and are planted in May alongside corn, another New World crop, a system whereby the corn stalk acts as a pole to support the vigorous bean vine, which can grow to 8 feet. Tarbais beans must be laboriously picked by hand, as they are entangled with corn stalks and continue to flower all season. The Tarbais beans are sold fresh or semi-dry as they are picked, from late August through September. But many are fully dried on the vine, and it is these that are picked in October, and destined for the traditional cassoulet of the region.