I picked the first crop of Blue Lake bush beans today. It was a touch overwhelming, because that’s the way it is with beans: one day they’re nothing but pale blossoms swinging gently in the breeze, then BAM, you’re drowning in beans.
So here’s everything I know about picking green beans:
1. You should pick them when they’re ready. Which is harder than it sounds because everyone knows what beans look like in the cans but on the vine they come in all different sizes. How small is too small? Where’s the cut-off? Should you save it until the next picking? Pick it now? There’s no definitive answer (other than, “pick them when they’re firm.” Umm. The only time a green bean isn’t firm–no matter how small–is when it’s a flower).
2. You should not pick them when the plants are wet because fungus.
3. It’s very easy to accidentally pull the whole plant out of the ground if you don’t snap the stem of the bean off cleanly. So either use two hands to twist the bean off or else look around to see if anyone’s watching and then shove the plant back in the ground and give it some water.
4. No matter how thoroughly you search the plants, no matter how diligently–or ruthlessly–you pick them, you will NEVER EVER FIND ALL THE BEANS. They will hide in the shadows, blend in to the surrounding stalks, disappear in the tangle of leaves, sometimes even in packs where they will grow sallow and fibrous and sad, like sullen teenagers smoking cigarettes behind the dumpster.
5. This is the most delicious way to cook those green beans:
- STEP ONE: Saute them for a little while with some butter and olive oil (a little of both, but more butter is always better. No matter the situation.), onions, and garlic (or, if you’re me: onion flakes and garlic powder)
- STEP TWO: Add chicken broth, enough that the beans are swimming
- STEP THREE: Cover the beans leaving a little gap for steam to escape and cook until tender, 20 – 25 minutes.
- STEP FOUR: A dash of lemon juice for brightness.
- STEP FIVE: Salt and pepper to taste.
I’m telling you, so easy and SO DELICIOUS.
Finally today, in party in the back news. I have teenagers. This is what happens to the kitchen while I sleep:
Someone’s partying. But it sure ain’t me. Also, look closely, there’s an ironic bottle of dish soap just hanging out way way at the back.