If you aren’t quite sure what the term "shelling bean" refers to, refresh your memory of a bean’s lifecycle, courtesy of Deborah Madison. She explains that whether beans grow on bushes or poles, they can be eaten at three different stages: first as green beans or snap beans (which can also be purple and yellow); then as shelling beans (when the bean seed has formed but is not yet dried); and finally, as dried beans. Of course not all types of beans can be eaten at all three stages -- some types we tend to only eat at the green bean stage, while with others, we eat only the bean and not the pod.
Part of the appeal of fresh shelling beans is their creamy texture and mild flavor, so they're arguably best enjoyed through simple preparations: simmered with a few aromatics, blended into a creamy soup, or paired with grains and vegetables. Keep in mind that fresh beans don’t need to be soaked first, and they’ll cook much faster than dried beans -- likely between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the type of bean, how fresh it is, and your desired level of doneness.