Grow Your Own Green Beans

There’s nothing quite like the pleasure of growing, harvesting and eating your own vegetables. Absolutely nothing can be fresher than vegetables that you grow yourself. My family always had a small garden and we grew tomatoes and peppers, some lettuce and eggplant. This year we added green beans to our list of vegetables. My husband and I love them and I found them a “snap” to grow, freeze and cook.

We decided on a pole variety of green beans for our garden. Pole green bean varieties produce for a longer season than do bush varieties. We grew the variety of pole beans called Kentucky Wonder. It was our first year and we were pleased with the amount of harvest that we had from this particular bean. I think that next year we’ll try a colored bean, but I wanted to grow Kentucky Wonder this year as they remind me of fresh green beans we had as kids. All colored green beans, ones that are gold or yellow or purple, have the same taste as green beans.

When we harvested the beans I froze what I couldn’t cook within a few days. I found that freezing worked well for me. It was easy as all it required was a pot to boil water, a bowl of ice water and freezer bags. We have quite a few string beans in the freezer now, more than enough to last us through for several months. Perhaps next year I’ll consider canning them. Where frozen green beans are good up to 18 months some experts say that properly canned green beans last up to five years (due to the fact that they are low-acid) although I don’t think I’d want to eat them if they’re that old. Canning is relatively simple but requires a lot more equipment than freezing does.

Of course the best thing about growing your own green beans is eating them. My husband’s favorite green bean recipe is very simple, they’re boiled in chicken stock. Boiled, boiled and boiled. Most “gourmets” will tell you not to overcook green beans. This recipe simmers the beans for at least 45 minutes. I drain them add butter, salt and pepper to taste. I don’t think that I’ll be using any of my frozen green beans in the Thanksgiving green bean casserole though. Store bought canned or frozen string beans work just fine in that recipe. I’ll save my home grown green beans for recipes where they’ll really shine through.