In Praise of Green Beans


Green beans are one of my favorite vegetables.  I enjoy growing them and I enjoy eating them.

I grew up calling them snaps, but most folks around here call them string beans.  Interestingly, in the U.K. they’re called French beans, even though they originated in the New World.  The French call them haricots verts.

Green beans are a great homesteading vegetable. They’re prodigious producers.   Unlike drying beans, green beans are picked fresh and the plant will continue to generate new pods as long as they’re regularly picked.  The downside is that to put them away f0r winter they have to be frozen or canned (as opposed to just dried), but a small garden of them produces a lot of delicious and nutritious food.

I’ve never had a variety I didn’t like.  This year we’re growing Contender and Tenderette, but I’ve tried lots of different varieties over the years.  My favorite are bush Romas (pictured above). They’re a flat and very flavorful bean, good for cooking the old-fashioned way.

Picking them is time-consuming, but the rewards are worth it.  They only take about two months to reach maturity, so it’s possible for us to have multiple plantings in our warm weather growing season, which is almost six months long.

We’ll be selling them at the market this morning, and we’ll be eating them all summer.

They’re another one of the many dietary joys of summer.