Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Beans, beans

The purple and green beans make a nice contrast when they are raw

Beans, beans, we sang when we were kids, the musical fruit. Those were baked beans, those delicious little things swimming in rich tomato sauce. But today it is string beans about which I - er - wax poetic (sorry).

When I plant the garden in the spring, my head is full of anticipation of the eventual harvest: ripe tomatoes off the vine, carrots pulled and rinsed off with the garden hose, beets boiled, buttered and salted, sweet yellow corn similarly prepared. For some reason, I don't think about the beans. And yet, every year, I go crazy for them when they are ready, and I want them with every meal. And every year, the garden produces enough for every meal for many, many days.

The other night I spent a few seconds picking at the ends of the bean rows to get a handful of beans. Just standing in one place at the ends of the rows. And as I looked at them I realized how great they are. For the last three years I have been growing two varieties of string beans. The familiar green guys, and lovely purple ones.The purple ones turn a deep olive green when you boil them, sort of like a built in doneness indicator. In case you have never had them, I should tell you the taste is similar to the green ones but the texture is different. They are more tender than the green beans, at least the green beans I grow. So I went to the kitchen for a bowl and in no time I had a bowl brimming with purple and green beans.
Two minutes worth of picking
Purple beans turn olive green - time for butter

If you use the beans raw - say in a salad, the green and purple beans would make a nice contrast. Also, the purple ones contrast with the foliage of the bean plant, making them really easy to pick.
We just throw them in the pot together, boil them until the purple ones turn green, then drain them and throw in a little salt and pepper and too much butter. Put a lid on the pot and let them sit for a few minutes while the butter melts and the beans soak up the seasoning. Then toss them around. Then eat 'em. Then cook another batch to go with dinner. Trust me, when you plant beans, you will have enough beans to do this. Everyday.

I planted two ten foot rows of purple beans this year and one row of green beans. Two weeks into the bean harvest both are going strong. Both varieties have flowers still, so there are many beans to come. They are easy to grow, too. Do a reasonable job of weeding, of course, so they don't get choked out. But even in my garden, where I manage to grow as much switch grass and alfalfa as I do vegetables, I have an abundant bean harvest.

So grow some beans. You'll be glad you did. If you can find them, try the purple ones.

You'll have to excuse me now; I have to run to the store. Seems we're out of butter...


Marie Anne said...

I planted a few beans in containers and along a small edge of the rental house I was in two years ago. Loved the purple beans!

I didn't have enough at any one time to put up for meals, so mostly just ate them right from the garden when I was weeding the rest. Yum!

Judith van Praag said...

When we lived in a rental I had a large terra cotta pot at our entrance with pole beans. They got the morning sun and the harvest was a-ma-zing. Green beans and garbanzos are the only legumes I can eat, so it's good I love both.
BTW Goat-Ama would you consider adding the "followers" gadget to your blog? I'd like to "follow".

Goat-ama said...

I have added the gadget - and thanks for the suggestion