Friday, July 15, 2011

Fixing Beans

This is the new kitchen garden. It's planted now and has the cucuzzi and other squash.

Honeybees pollinating the cukes.

It is one of those ancient rituals of a mountain summer--preparing green beans, fresh from the garden. Even little children can do that and Southern children learn early about breaking both ends off a tiny bit and them snapping the long bean into small pieces. By the time you're my age, you will have done a lot of beans.

I grew a beautiful heirloom bean this year called Black Valentine. It is a prolific producer, strong and healthy plant with long beans. I've picked about half a bushel so far in the first row I planted, and the ones along the fence in the new kitchen garden are just starting to produce beans.

I detested green beans when I was younger, mostly because of the way they're cooked here. Boiled until there is no flavor left, with a big lump of fat back on the top. Nasty. When I got old enough to cook my own food, I found that they could be cooked with a lighter and gentler hand, seasoned with a little EVOO and salt and they were delicious.

This first harvest has been coked and eaten and the majority of it blanched, cooled and frozen. They were be wonderful in the winter, either alone or in soup or stew. Green beans are versatile and nutritious and freeze very easily.

My plan is also to do more canning and less freezing this year but the beans were always destined for freezing. They preserve better that way, I think.

Squash will start coming in soon. I'm also growing an edible Sicilian gourd called cucuzzi. It's beginning to flower now, so I'll report back on that a little later. It seems to be zucchini-ish.

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