Green beans are one of the easiest things to grow in your summer garden, but for some reason mine rarely do well. I’ll be honest. I generally am. 🙂
I just don’t pay much attention to them, as my heart is so wound up in my heirloom tomatoes and my herbs and my preternaturally large basil patch (but have you ever smelled licorice basil? It’s worth at least a bushel of green beans, that smell alone) and I pick enough for a “mess of beans” (like my Grandma used to say) with one meal or perhaps two (“ah, the cleverness of me!” I sing, as I serve those first beans and blushingly admit that yes, they are from my garden) and then the next time I look at them, the plants in the garden, that is, the plants have collapsed and the last batch of beans has gotten so big that the plants obviously have decided that Their Work On Earth Is Done. They are slack-jawed and crumpled on the ground. Yellowed. Wrinkled and spent. Defeated by their children. Like a poor woman I see occasionally in the mirror, as a matter of fact. They’ve produced kin, basically, so they’re done.
Hmph. The fickleness of bean plants. They do not give even the most well-intentioned gardener a second chance. Oh, wait. That would make a terrific (or, at least a confusing) tweet, would it not? In contrast, consider your basic tomato plant: say you have a very busy week, with company in the house, and then you get sick on top of it, and you don’t pick tomatoes. For an entire week. Hypothetically speaking. When you finally drag out to the tomato patch, pale and wan, but determined, the plants have been merrily producing one tomato after another, and you can still pick them and eat them, or use them, or can them, or make salsa with them, or whatever. Sure, there will be a few overripe fruits that you’ll need to throw to the chickens, but so what? The plant doesn’t just give up on you and collapse and die, for Pete’s sake.
Not so bean plants.
But. All is not lost in the bean department, because our farmer’s market is rife with beans for sale, and lucky me (moi le chance, for those of you–Amalia–who want to learn a bit of French) that our next-table-vendor-neighbor, Erin, always has bags of green beans at the end of market that she is happy to trade for baguettes. I think I’m the lucky one–I know how much work it takes to keep green bean plants alive, after all–and she makes all the motions of believing that she is the lucky one. So we both leave market smug and feeling blessed.
It’s pretty sweet, actually.
But much easier than growing green beans (and now that I’ve written all that down, I am determined to not fail my bean rows next year. Really. Who can’t grow green beans?? I’m losing all my self respect here!) is the actual cooking of green beans. But so many people do it wrong, and the green beans are not what they could be.
Years ago, in a favorite old cookbook, I learned that the following method is how fine restaurants prepare fresh beans, and I quickly adopted it as my own. Indeed, since I rarely set foot in a fine restaurant, at least I can eat beans the way fine restaurant-goers eat them, and that is a small consolation, after all.
First, though, this is what they look like: bright green, alert, tender-crisp, and absolutely perfect. Now think of the last time you ate green beans: did they look like this? If not, you got gipped, baby.
I made these green beans just a day or two ago, and my family ate an entire pot full of them, exclaiming in delight at their deliciousness. It was like they’d never eaten fresh green beans before, which I know isn’t the case. They were–and are–so delicious, prepared this way!
And this is how to make them: and yes, so easy that an infant (practically) could do it.
- Pick and clean your green beans (snapping off the stems).
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add 1 Tb to the water. (The salt sets the green color, but don’t be alarmed: you’re going to rinse it off.)
- Bring salted water to a rolling boil, put in fresh beans and cook until just tender-crisp (1 to 2 minutes).
- Drain beans in a colander and cool right away under very cold running water.
- Drain on paper towels.
- Eat in salads, or reheat them thoroughly with butter, herbs, and/or freshly ground salt and pepper, or a dab of coconut oil and herbs.
That’s it! Perfection and ease in one simple dish. Now . . . do you have some green beans that you’d trade for a baguette?
By . . . the . . . way . . . did you know that the gallons of Gold Medal Virgin Coconut Oil (the good stuff!) from Tropical Traditions are on sale through this Thursday, September 4? They are 50% off, and this is when I always stock up on this great stuff! That brings the cost of a gallon down to $59.00, which isn’t bad at all. This organic virgin coconut oil is rich in antioxidants, and I use it in so many recipes now without even thinking. I drink it every day in my bulletproof(ish) coffee, also occasionally in my afternoon iced bulletproof coffee, and for popping popcorn, sauteing vegetables, roasting root veggies, and so much more. You can learn lots more about incorporating this healthy fat right here. It’s a big deal, coconut oil is.
If you click on the link below, it’ll take you straight to the Tropical Traditions website, where you’ll learn even more. Also. If you decide to take advantage of the 50% off sale, and buy something, and if you’re a first-time customer, they’ll send you a free book all about coconut oil (with recipes!) and I’ll earn a coupon for being the link, so to speak. So. . . win-win!
Also. . . I’m linking up this post with the nice folks over at The Prairie Homestead because it’s Monday, and they have a fun event over there today . . . the Barn Hop! Come on over, ya’all!
One more thing. . . I did a second fall gardening seeds giveaway and I wrote about it right here. If you’re putting a fall garden in, or even just a few rows of this or that, do enter . . . it’ll end tomorrow (Tuesday) at midnight though, so don’t put it off!
More from my site
- End of Summer: Fun at the Fair
- My Mom has supernatural abilities