So... what do I do with a million tender young green beans?

So, it’d been about two days since I’d gone down to the veggie patch - last time there were flowers everywhere and everything was sex, sex, sex. Today I went down there and everything was parenthood! There’s probably hundreds of green beans all of a sudden - the longest ones are the size of the ones you buy in the store and have got to be picked, and there’s lots and lots of the little ones that are so nice and summery steamed or blanched. But let’s face it, how many green beans can one person with a boyfriend who prefers meat eat at a time? (I didn’t know it was going to be all at once! I meant to succession plant but I forgot!)

Should I can dilly beans now or wait for the late summer big ones when I’m tired of looking at the things? Anybody have a truly amazing bean recipe that would win over the non-bean-eaters (my dad, for one?) Anybody want some damned beans? (They’re Kentucky Wonder heirloom beans, organically grown from seed, blah blah blah.) What do you guys do when you look up and suddenly there’s a crapload of beans? (Seriously, it was like when you suddenly see the other image in an optical illusion picture - I saw a bean and said “Wow, a bean! How exciting! I’ll have to eat it!” and then I looked around and they were everywhere.)

Here’s some pictures of my babies. They don’t really capture the “they’re all around us!” feel of the overgrown garden at this point, however.

Pickling them sounds like a good idea. Otherwise - I ran across a good recipe you might try with them. From memory from a Moosewood cookbook: Mix lemon juice, salt, garlic & olive oil; set aside. Blanch or steam green beans til cooked but crunchy. Chop up fressh tomatoes till amount is equivalent to green beans. Mix tomatoes with just cooked beans; pour dressing over. Chill.
Obviously there are a million variations but this summer green bean/tomato salad is always a favorite.

Damn…if I were 3,000 miles closer, I’d be in my glory. Mmmm mmm mmmmm, I do love me some fresh green beans!

Errr…going to have to revamp my mileage note there – I read your location as “Southern California”, not “South Carolina”. :smack:

You have the right idea. Start canning. Dilly beans, pickled beans, beans with pimentoes, can them beans.

I like them seared in a hot cast-iron skillet until they have little black and brown spots, then sprinkled with red pepper flakes and kosher salt. Maybe with a little sesame oil dribbled on top. Yum.

I cook them with bacon and onions. I think that would appeal to a non-bean eater (heathen).

You’re so lucky to have this problem.

Two favorites:

Asian-ish Green Bean Salad

1 pound green beans, trimmed
~ 1 Tablespoon olive oil
~ 3 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
~ 1" piece of fresh ginger, minced or squooshed or grated
salt & pepper
sesame seeds if you have them

Blanch the green beans by plunging them into a pot of boiling, salted water. Cook for a couple minutes until they are slightly tender and very green. Drain and immediately put in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

While beans cool, mix together the olive oil, vinegar, ginger, and salt & pepper. If you want to be fancy you can make a vinegarette by mixing together the ginger & vinegar and slooooowly dribbling the oil in while whisking. If you’re lazy, just throw it all in a ziploc and shake until combined.

Once beans are cool, drain. I usually toss them in a dry dish towel to get most of the water off them. Put 'em in a bowl, add the oil/vinegar/ginger mixture. Mix to taste. Throw a handful of sesame seeds in.

Let cool in fridge for a couple hours. This is a heavenly salad.
Spring Green Bean Soup

This is very easy to make, and the general technique can be used for almost any vegetable. I particularly like the parsnip and green bean mix. Parsnips, if you haven’t had them, look like albino carrots. They add an early, sweet taste to this soup that gives it a depth that I really like. If you don’t want to use the parsnip, the soup will still work. Just add more onions - or garlic - or chives. Really, you can make this with anything - I did it last night with all the leftover veggies in my fridge (grilled belgian endive, grilled bell peppers, grilled onions), threw in some curry powder, and it was fantastic.

~ 1 pound green beans, trimmed
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 medium to large parsnip, peeled and sliced
~ 1-2 cups chicken stock
1 T. butter
Fresh herbs, salt and pepper, maybe some cream

Add butter to a large pan and put over medium heat. When butter is melted, add the onion and cook until golden. Add the parsnips and about a half cup of chicken stock to cover. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes until parsnips are almost fork tender. Add the green beans and a little more stock (it doesn’t have to cover the beans - you’re looking for steam here, not boiling), cover and cook for a few more minutes until beans are dark green and tender and the parsnips fall apart when you poke 'em with a fork.

Throw the whole mess in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more stock if desired to thin to whatever thickness you want. Pour back into the pan and add salt & pepper.

At this point, you can throw in some cream, more butter, or any herbs you desire.


Well, the real problem is that the beans (and my bitter damned peppers) are the only things producing at the moment! I’d have an easier time deciding what to do with them if, say, I had ripe tomatoes also.

When I get beans from the grocery store, you know, the old tough ones, I like them roasted with some oil and salt and pepper and then I dress them with a lemon and olive oil vinagrette and toss in some fresh thyme, sundried tomatoes, and goat cheese. Now that is good eating, but I’m not accustomed to having young tender little beans to eat, and roasting them seems like I’m wasting the bounty.

How big is too big? I know if I don’t keep ahead of them they’ll stop producing. Is supermarket-length the longest I should let them go? What about for canning, should those be the bigger ones? I’ve never gardened alone before I got this house last August, and I really don’t know what kind of quantities to expect and all. It’s also going to be a super-huge pain to harvest, since I’ve had to put netting up to foil the squirrels and of course the beans and cucumbers aren’t satisfied with their trellis, they have to twine all in the netting also. (I used to try to keep them out of it, but they grow inches a day and it just got impossible.) I’m afraid of missing some, and then the ones I miss getting huge and everything stops producing. Also, the beans keep trying to make a break for freedom - there are probably tendrils sneaking around under the lettuce and tomatoes and lima beans that I may never find. Too much to worry about!

w/re your peppers, have you tried roasting them? usually it’s the skins that make them bitter. Just blacken the hell out of them with a flame - if you’ve got a gas stove, use the burners. They work great.

You want them to look like they’ve been cremated. Then put the blackened peppers in a paper bag, seal it up and let them sit for ten or fifteen minutes. Then take them out of the bag. The charred skin will peel right off and you should have lovely sweet roasted pepper underneath.

Which, incidentally, goes very well with green beans!

Re: the peppers, I posted a thread on them - they’re very thin walled, and there’s no “pepper taste” to them, it’s just all bitter. People suggested that they may not be getting enough water, although I don’t htink that’s the problem - I increased the watering time anyway just in case. Also, they’re not red or anything - do people roast green bell peppers?

Oh, man. South Carolina’s just down the road, right? Might be time for a little trip…

Have you considered freezing them? They won’t be as good as garden-fresh, but they’ll probably be better than grocery-store fresh. And when you serve your own green beans for Thanksgiving dinner, it’ll be a real delight.

We’re not doing green beans this year; I forget why. Garden-grown green-beans are astonishingly good.


When I was a kid on the farm, we always canned them when they were young and tender. The canned beans won’t be as good as fresh, but they’ll be a whole, whole bunch better than boughten canned beans. You can can old, tough beans, but the young, tender ones are so much better!

For cooking the fresh ones – have you tried them in a stir fry? They might appeal to your meat-loving SO that way. Here’s a recipe I have always had good luck with (from Helen Chen’s Chinese Home Cooking):

Pork Shreds with Green Beans

1 pound green beans
1 cup shredded lean pork
1 teaspoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons cornstrach
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
3 tablespoons canola, corn or peanut oil
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 slice unpeeled gingerroot, 1 x 1/8 inch (I use a teaspoon of fresh minced ginger from a jar)
1/2 cup water
salt to taste

Snap the ends from the green beans and break them into 2-inch pieces. Wash and drain thoroughly.

Place the pork in a bowl, stir in the sherry, cornstarch, and soy sauce, and mix well. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a wok or stir fry pan over high heat. Add the gingeroot and stir a few times until the oil is hot and the gingerroot sizzles. Add the onion and stir-fry for 1 minute. Stir up the pork again and pour it into the pan. Stir fry for about 3 minutes, or until pork is cooked through. Transfer the meat and onions to a platter.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the same pan and stir in the green beans. Stir fry for about one minute. Add the water, stir, bring to a boil and cover. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 9 to 12 minutes, depending on how crisp you want your beans. Stir occasionally for even cooking.

Return the meat to the pan and stir thoroughly until the pork and gravy are well mixed into the beans. Taste and add salt, if desired.

I usually drizzle a bit of sesame oil over this at the end, just because I love the taste of sesame oil. Yum!

God, i love green beans. I wish I was closer to you – I’d definately drive out and take some off your hands!

Green beans with slivered almonds, butter, and pepper. It’s to die for.

These are some pretty good ideas. I see on that there’s quite a few for sesame green beans - anybody have a preferred recipe for that?

Also, how long can you keep these things in the fridge? When I buy them fresh at the store it’s usually for a planned recipe and I use them right then.

Make them like my mom does and like her German grandmother did.

You’ll need green beans, bacon, vinegar, and black pepper. Fry some bacon up in a skillet. Discard most of the bacon fat, but leave enough to make your beans pleasant. Cut up the meat-y bits of the bacon and set aside. Steam the beans or cook them until tender in the skillet. Mix them with the bacon and add vinegar and black pepper to taste. Add a little bit of vinegar at a time, too little is much better than too much.

I like to make balsamic glazed green beans. In a hot wok, stir fry the beans with some salt until they are cooked well and slightly charred, then throw in a handful of thinly sliced garlic and let it cook for 30 seconds and then add about 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and let it reduce just a bit until it forms a nice glaze.

Okay, here’s my peculiar fetish.

Cut them into 1/2" lengths, freeze them, and then eat them frozen as a snack. They last forever, they get a nice crunchy texture (kind of like Milano cookies), kind of sweet, cold and tasty. Green bean candy! I love it.

Another vote for freezing at least some of them. You don’t have to eat them frozen, but that way you’ll be able to keep them fresh.

Well, tomorrow morning I’m gonna get out there at the ass crack of dawn with a bucket and see just how many I have. (I hope it isn’t too late - I meant to do it this morning before work but I set my alarm clock wrong.) I guess that will tell me what I’m gonna have to do with them. Is there such a thing as too small to eat, or does smaller always equal better?