Beans: We grow Blue Lake bush beans and Yellow bush beans.

The bean is a tender, warm season vegetable that ranks second to tomato in popularity in home gardens.

Bush Beans stand erect without support. They yield well and require the least amount of work. Green bush beans were formerly called "string beans" because fiber developed along the seams of the pods. Plant breeders have reduced these fibers through selection and green beans are now referred to as "snap beans."

Pole Beans climb supports and are easily harvested.

Nutritional value and health benefits: Snap beans, string beans, and pole beans are the immature pod and beans of dried legumes. All of these will mature to produce fat seeds and tough inedible pods. The nutritional profile of mature dried beans is very different from that of green beans. Green beans are a good source of carbohydrates. They are a moderate source of protein, dietary fiber, Vitamin C and beta carotene. The beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body. Green beans also contain small amounts of calcium and other trace nutrients.

Nutrition Facts (1/2 cup fresh cooked fresh green beans)

    Calories 15
    Dietary fiber 1.6 grams
    Protein 1 gram
    Carbohydrates 3.5 mg
    Vitamin A 340 IU
    Vitamin C 7.5 mg
    Folic Acid 21 mg
    Calcium 31.5 mg
    Iron .4 mg
    Potassium 94.5 mg

Preparation and serving: Tiny immature green beans from any variety are delicious served raw in fresh salads. They are tender and mildly flavored. Mature green beans need to be cooked or blanched before eating. Only the stem end needs to be removed. Wash beans under cold running water and drain. Green beans retain color and nutritional value best if they are cooked whole. Cooking time should always be brief.

Home preservation: Green beans can be frozen, dried or canned. Immature beans retain more color and undergo less texture and flavor loss during freezing. All vegetables must be blanched before freezing. Unblanched vegetables quickly become tough and suffer huge nutrient and color loss. Vegetables naturally contain an active enzyme that causes deterioration of plant cells, even during freezing. Blanching before freezing retards the enzyme activity.

  1. Freezing does not improve the quality of any vegetable. Freezing actually can magnify undesirable characteristics. For instance, woodiness in stalks become more noticeable upon thawing. Select vegetables grown under favorable conditions and prepare for freezing as soon after picking as possible. Vegetables at peak quality for eating will produce best results in the freezer.In a blanching pot or large pot with a tight fitting lid, bring 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil.
  2. Meanwhile, wash beans, trim stem ends and cut into1-inch pieces or leave whole.
  3. Blanch no more than one pound at a time. Add beans to boiling water and immediately cover with a tight fitting lid.
  4. Start timing immediately and blanch for four minutes.
  5. Prepare an ice water bath in a large 5-quart container or the sink.
  6. Remove beans from water with slotted a spoon or blanching basket.
  7. Emerge in the ice water bath for five minutes or until cooled. If you do not have ice, use several changes of cold water or running cold water. Remove and drain.
  8. Pack cold beans in zip-closure freezer bags or freezer containers. Squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing bags.
  9. Label and date each container or bag. Immediately place in the freezer, allowing an inch of space around each container until it is frozen. Freeze for up to one year at 0 degrees F. or below.
  10. Blanching water can be used over and over again. Add more water if necessary. Remember to always bring water back to a rolling boil before blanching more vegetables.

Recipes: Herbs and spices that compliment green beans include dill, mint, basil, sage, thyme, summer savory, garlic, onions and dry mustard.

Steamed Green Beans with Lemony Vinaigrette

Lemony Vinaigrette

  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chives or green onion with green top, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon each, salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup canola oil or safflower oil

In a small bowl combine parsley, lemon juice, yogurt, and chives. Set bowl on a wet towel to avoid slippage. Add oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly until vinaigrette is blended. Chill.

Steamed Green Beans

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, leave whole
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, cut into julienne strips

Wash green beans and remove the stem end only, leave whole. Steam or blanch green beans for 3 minutes. Toss with julienne red pepper. Toss green beans and red peppers with enough vinaigrette to coat vegetables, about 1/3 cup. Serve warm. Leftover vinaigrette can be used as a salad dressing. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Green Beans with Tomatoes

  • 1-1/2 pounds fresh green beans
  • 1 large ripe tomato, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and cut into julienne strips
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 pods of okra (optional) or one white potato cubed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Wash green beans and trim stem end, set aside. Wash core and chop tomato, no need to remove skin. Heat olive oil in a nonstick pan. Add onions and saute for one minute Add garlic and tomatoes, continue to cook for one minute. Add green beans, toss, add okra or potato, season with salt and pepper. Add in a cup of water, cover quickly and simmer for 10 minutes or until potato is tender. Check potato by pricking with a fork. Serve hot. Makes 6 servings.