The green bean harvest is coming in. My kids watch them grow with anticipation. They love when I make string beans sautéed with soy sauce and garlic. They love this dish so much that they have to work at portion control.
Then there are a few nights when the green beans are plentiful in the harvest bowl. That’s a treat, because we have “All You Can Eat Bean Night”. It usually takes me a couple batches to make enough for these special evenings, and sometimes I keep them going throughout the meal. You can see why it is an occasional offering.
Our CSA members are likely anticipating the green bean harvest, too. At House in the Woods Farm, we offer U-pick green beans to our CSA members as a membership perk. It gets them involved and out on the field. Picking their own beans is one step closer to knowing where their food comes from and how it grows.
It gives members a taste of the hard work it takes to grow food, and the deep appreciation that comes from eating food you harvested yourself. Also, picking green beans is intensive work and would take us too long to harvest beans for 50 CSA members.
Blanching and Freezing Green Beans
This summer I am preserving the harvest by blanching beans and vacuum packing them for freezer storage. I will use them for my sautéed string beans and vegetable soup all winter long. I chop off the ends, rinse the beans, and blanch them in small batches.
To blanch, boil a big pot of water. Add a bowl of beans, maybe four cups worth or a big bowl. Cover and cook for three or four minutes, until the water starts to boil at the surface again. Scoop them out into a bowl of ice water to cool them quickly. Drain them on a clean towel. I freeze them in quart bags. Labeled, of course! It will be nice to have green beans throughout the winter, as I am hoping to freeze more bags than I have in the past.
It is summertime, so we get to enjoy the fresh green beans and All You Can Eat Bean Night. The kids are watching the beans grow. This weekend it will be time for sautéed green beans again. Now we are enjoying my brother Ron's green bean recipe.
This summer, Ron introduced us to his version of sautéed string beans. He makes great Schezuan string beans on the grill wok. The grill wok is huge. It is big enough to cook a huge batch of All You Can Eat Beans all at once! This recipe works on a stovetop pan or wok, as well. Ron’s Schezuan string beans are aptly named Schez-Ron String Beans.
'Schez-Ron' String Beans Recipe
• green beans
• cooking oil of your choice
• garlic or garlic scapes, chopped
• soy sauce or wheat-free tamari
• toasted sesame oil
1. Rinse beans (some blossoms might come off). We don’t always take the time to cut the stems off the beans, but certainly you can.
2. Heat a couple Tablespoons of oil in a large pan.
3. Sautee chopped garlic scapes or garlic for a few minutes. Maybe two cloves, adjust to your taste.
4. Add green beans with a little water (about a quarter cup). Cover the pan. Steam it. Stir it occasionally, cooking for five minutes or until tender.
5. Add soy sauce or tamari.
6. Add a dash of salt, optional.
7. Continue to cook down to evaporate some of the liquid.
8. Add a splash of toasted sesame oil at the very end.
Ilene White Freedman operates House in the Woods organic CSA farm with her husband, Phil, in Frederick, Maryland. The Freedmans are one of six 2013 MOTHER EARTH NEWS Homesteaders of the Year. Ilene blogs about making things from scratch, putting up the harvest, gardening and farm life on the farm's Facebook Page. For more about House in the Woods Farm, go to the House in the Woods website, and read all of Ilene's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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