- Look for plump pods and pinch them to make sure they're housing full-size beans.
- Beware of punctures, signs that insects have been poking around.
- Yellowish pods are overmature; their beans should be cooked soon after purchase. Brownish pods are way past their prime.
- Cranberry beans are quite popular, but also seek out scarlet runner beans, pigeon peas, or dragon tongue beans at farmers' markets.