The last couple weeks of CSA shares from Kirsop Farm has included big bags of beautiful beans. This is one of my favorite veggies and one of the first that I learned to only eat in season. Off season grocery store beans tend to be rubbery, pithy and tasteless. Compare that to the crisp flavorful local in season bean and there is just no competition.
Green beans were always a garden staple for my family. We would grow long rows of pole beans and I would be sent out to pick them. This was in part because my mother's favorite variety, the Blue Lake, tended to have a greater concentration of irritating hairs all over the leaves which would make her break out into a rash - more so than it did me. That and I think it was just her motherly prerogative. (I've now grown into the full blown rash, but wasn't smart enough to produce children to pick the beans for me!) People who have never grown beans or picked there own may not realize how much work it is when done by hand, the way it most often is on small local farms. I always stuck to pole beans because I at least could spend a little less time bending over. Bush beans for me equal one nasty back ache. They do have the benefit of tending to ripen all at once or at least closer together than most pole beans, however. Each person will have there own preference and many types of beans are available in both growth habits.
My mom often canned and froze excess beans to be used in the off-season. Again, home canned green beans are nothing like their commercial counterpart, for that matter neither are the frozen ones. The difference often comes from the freshness of the beans when they are processed. My all time favorite processing of beans is Dilly Beans. My mouth begins to water even thinking of this deliciously tangy and often spicy pantry staple. When I get around to making mine this year I'll share the recipe. For now I'll share a newer way that I've been preparing my steady supply of beans. It all started when I picked up a jar of Garden of Life organic extra virgin coconut oil. This is coconut oil that still has the light flavor of coconut to it, and for this recipe that is important so make sure you are using a similar coconut oil.
Green Beans with Coconut Oil and Garlic
1 pound green beans
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt to taste
Use a wok or large skillet to heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the minced garlic and stir for a minute or so. Add the beans and stir often till their color is extra bright green and they are cooked but still very crisp. Transfer to a serving dish and season with sea salt.
Serves 2-4. I could honestly eat them all myself, but I play nice and share.
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