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Beans are versatile and nutritious
By Stacy Hall

Green beans are one of the most popular vegetables, and with good reason: they are easily grown, beautiful plants and very versatile in the kitchen.

To beat the scourge of bean beetles, delay your planting until after the summer solstice (June 21st). This insures that the young plants will also have the necessary warm temperatures to germinate and thrive. You may pick off some beetles, but it won't compare with the onslaught you've fought on early plantings.

If you like to can or freeze your green bean crop, consider the timing of the harvest so you can stagger it with tomato canning. This may influence the variety you select too.

If you are a chronic procrastinator, you probably won't like the French filet beans very well. They demand timely harvest at a very small size and are not too forgiving of your other pressing chores. If you, like me, sometimes have to postpone harvest until more urgent chores are done, try the old standby Tenderette. These beans are delicious even when large. The vigorous plants are extremely prolific, bushy and hardy.

If you have a little extra time and like the look of vines, try pole beans such as Jacob's Cattle bean or runner beans. Be sure to put them where they won't shade other parts of the garden and use stout poles. It is hard to imagine how big they will be and how much they will weigh, especially when laden with beans!

If you are a fan of bean salad, try canning some pickled beans. If you like wax beans, include them too. I like to combine a can or two of pickled beans with some canned dried beans for a quick winter salad. Slice a red onion thinly and add it to the dish.

To can dried beans, soak rinsed beans overnight in water, then drain, pack to 1 inch below jar shoulder, fill jar with boiling water, and process 90 minutes at 10 lbs in pressure canner. Try garbanzos and kidneys for a color contrast.

Beans are versatile and nutritious. So get out there and grow some.

 
 

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