Sometimes known as the scarlet bean because of the bright red flower it produces, this long, slender bean is said to have earned its name from the speed at which its shoots climb up the supporting frame against which it grows.
British beans are grown from June to September. Imported beans are available all year.
Look for firm, bright pods. Slender, smaller pods will be sweeter and more succulent; larger pods may be tough and stringy. Avoid any that look wilted, dried or soft.
Top and tail runner beans, and if necessary remove any stringy fibre that runs the length of the bean with a small knife. Then slice the bean vertically or diagonally into even lengths before cooking in boiling salted water for 5-10 minutes until tender. Try adding it to this delicious risotto recipe.
Keep runner beans wrapped in damp kitchen paper in the salad drawer of the fridge; they should last for 2-3 days.