Eat Well: I Bean... Seriously.

The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks mom!
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It’s bean time again in my garden….but this year I am deluged with them. Every day I pick at least 2 pounds of juicy and sweet green beans. I give complete credit for my success to the Burpee seed company. Back in March when I ordered my seeds, a note popped up at check-out suggesting I add a package of Burpee Bean Booster to my order. “Improve plant growth! Increase crop yield!” bragged the message. What did I have to lose? So I bought the stuff and let me tell you, it works like magic! You simply sprinkle some of the organic granules on top of the furrow as you sew your seeds, fertilize, water, and wait. In a couple of months, beyond bean bonanza! I’ve never seen so many beans.
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I always plant a combination of pole and bush beans—pole beans on the north side of the bed and the bush beans in front of them. The bush beans produce first, fast and furious, and the pole beans are slower to start but bear longer. Choosing a good variety is important, too. I order my seeds from Burpee or Parks Seed. I love the good old standard Kentucky Wonder pole beans. They are stringless and huge. As for bush beans, this year I bought Beananza and Blue Lake and they both have been amazing. There are many good varieties of bush beans…just look for one that gets good reviews and is stringless. It’s a little late to plant them in many parts of the US, but in California there is still time to plant for a late season burst.

We have an abundance of beans to eat and lots to share, but I have also decided to freeze some so we can enjoy them this winter. (Many of you have encouraged me to start canning, but I haven’t ventured into that world yet. Maybe next year!) You don’t have to grow beans to freeze them. Good beans are plentiful and cheap now at farmer’s market, so you can take advantage of the summer bounty and freeze those. Freezing beans is easy and quick. The frozen beans can be briefly boiled or steamed just till hot or used in your favorite recipes.

To Freeze beans:
1. Select only the freshest green beans to freeze. I pick my beans when they are about the width of a pencil so they are tender and sweet.
2. Trim ends. (You can cut beans into pieces, but I like freezing them whole.)
3. Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil and drop beans into water. Cover.
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4. Boil for 2-3 minutes.
5. Drain and immediately plunge the beans into ice water, adding more ice as the cubes melt.
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6. When beans are cold (about 3 minutes), drain and pat dry.
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7. Label Ziplock quart-sized bags with date of freezing. Add beans, packing tightly. Squeeze as much air as possible out of the bags and close tightly.
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If you have lots of beans to freeze, boil in batches and use a slotted spoon or tongs to retrieve the cooked beans. Reusing the water several times is fine. Every night we have been alternating between my two favorite bean recipes (here and here) but it’s time to branch out and try something new. I found several recipes for tofu and Asian-style green beans in my cookbooks. Here is my version. It’s absolutely delicious over soba noodles or rice.
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***

Wendy’s Asian-style Tofu and Green Beans 

1 ½ lb whole green beans, trimmed
1 lb crimini mushrooms, stems removed and cut into chunks
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¼ 1b shiitaki mushrooms, sliced
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16 whole peeled garlic cloves
1 1b firm or extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
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3 T sesame oil
¼ cup Braggs liquid amino acids (or Tamari)
1 small onion, sliced thinly

***

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine beans, mushrooms, onion, tofu and garlic in a large roasting pan.
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In a small bowl, mix liquid aminos and sesame oil and pour over vegetables and tofu.
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Mix well, coating all ingredients.
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Roast at 425 for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
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Vegetables and tofu should be caramelized and all liquid should be evaporated.
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(If not, cook another 10-15 minutes.) Serve over rice or soba noodles.
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Enjoy! 

Love, 
WWW

8 comments:

Red Stethoscope | 10:14 PM

This might be my favorite WWW yet! I wish had a yard to plant beans, but I'll live vicariously in the meantime. Can't wait to try this recipe out!

CallieAnnie | 10:53 AM

I would pay good money to eat at your house.

Alt-Mama | 11:53 AM

Oh wow, yum. It's never occurred to me to caramelize in the oven. Very impressed with your at-home bean farm, too!

haleyhd | 5:59 PM

Another organic Burpee product you must try (if you haven't already) is Sea Magic. My tomatoes and cucumbers are going crazy!

Wendy Woolf | 6:40 PM

Haleyhd, I used sea magic last year. I will have to put it on my veggies this year...I forgot about it! Thanks for reminding me!

Anonymous | 6:04 AM

Yum!

I'm guessing you got an inoculant? It helps the rhizomes to fix nitrogen from the air.

They work for beans and peas and you can get them from any company, not just burpee. You can ask at the garden store :)

Anonymous | 3:02 PM

My mom worked at Park Seed many moons ago! Late 60's early 70's

TJ | 6:04 PM

This has become my go-to dinner lately. I love it!!