Harvesting and Cooking Home Grown Green Beans

Cooking, gardening

It is summer and the garden is producing all sorts of goodies. We have vine green beans growing taller than me right now. Time to harvest and enjoy the fruits of our labor.

I like to pick my green beans before they get too large. In my experience, the larger the bean, the tougher the bean tends to become. Very large green beans are not tasty, so be sure to keep an eye on them and pick them when ready. Green beans should snap and sound crisp. If not, they are probably too large.

Once the beans are picked, I wash them in water and lay them on a towel to dry. Then I snap off the ends, leaving one long bean. They can also be snapped shorter if preferred. Now they are ready to be prepared.

Green beans are a very versatile vegetable. They go with almost any entree and are simple to prepare. There are a few different methods of preparing green beans. Baking, roasting, blanching and shocking, boiling, and steaming and sauteing are some options to consider.

Green beans can be baked in casseroles, such as the ever famous holiday French’s Green Bean Casserole (https://www.mccormick.com/frenchs/recipes/salads-sides/frenchs-green-bean-casserole). This dish has made it on the table at most pot-lucks throughout the country. Sheppard’s Pie is another casserole that can include green beans.

Roasting green beans can be done by mixing green beans with a drizzle of canola (or other) oil, and seasoning of choice, and spreading them onto a baking sheet. Pop the sheet into a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Green beans can also cook alongside a roast of meat in the oven.

Blanching and shocking green beans is done by placing green beans into a pot of boiling, salted water until just tender (about two minutes). Then the beans are drained and put into a bowl of cold, ice water for two minutes. The ice water stops the beans from cooking and helps them maintain their lovely green hue. Now the beans can be used in a cold salad or can be sauteed in a pan with oil, butter, and garlic for a nice crisp bean.

To steam beans, place them in a skillet partially covered in water, cover with lid and boil for 4-5 minutes. Then drain and saute the beans with butter and oil until tender. This will take another couple of minutes. Season and serve.

Boiling green beans is another option. Place beans in a pot, partially cover with water, place lid on pot. Bring the water to boil then turn the burner to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Season and serve.

Seasonings that work well with green beans are salt, pepper, garlic, red pepper flakes, grated lemon peel, sesame seeds, pesto, basil, onion, bacon, etc… Have fun experimenting with flavors that appeal to the palate and work well with the dish it will accompany.

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