Also called shell bean or shellout, and known as borlotti bean in Italy, the cranberry bean has a large, knobby beige pod splotched with red. The beans inside are cream-colored with red streaks and have a delicious nutlike flavor. Cranberry beans must be shelled before cooking. Heat diminishes their beautiful red color. They're available fresh in the summer and dried throughout the year. See also beans.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.