Cut off the stalk end first, and then turn to the point and strip off the strings. If not quite fresh, have a bowl of spring-water, with a little salt dissolved in it, standing before you, and as the beans are cleaned and stringed, throw them in. When all are done, put them on the fire in boiling water, with some salt in it; after they have boiled fifteen or twenty minutes, take one out and taste it; as soon as they are tender take them up; throw them into a colander or sieve to drain. To send up the beans whole is much the best method when they are thus young, and their delicate flavor and color are much better preserved. When a little more grown, they must be cut across in two after stringing; and for common tables they are split, and divided across; cut them all the same length; but those who are nice never have them at such a growth as to require splitting. When they are very large they look pretty cut into lozenges.
When young, and most other small green vegetables, may be pickled the same way as gherkins.
Gather them when young, and on a dry day, put a layer of salt into a jar, and then one of about two inches thick of beans; do this till the jar be nearly full; place a small plate upon the top of them, and tie a bladder closely over the jar; keep it in a cool dry place. When to be used, soak them a night in cold water, and change it on them repeatedly in the course of the day they are to be dressed. Cut them, and put them on in boiling water.
Boil for more than two hours, in two quarts of water, a pound of the seeds or beans of scarlet runners; fill a pint basin with onions peeled or sliced, brown them in a saucepan, with rather more than a quarter of a pound of fresh butter; stir them constantly; strain the water from the beans, and mix them with the onions; add a tea-spoonful of pepper, some salt, and a little gravy. Let them stew for ten minutes, and stir in the beaten yolks of two eggs, and a table-spoonful of vinegar. Serve them hot.