I love fresh beans. I think they are probably the crop I await with the most anticipation each year. If they are very fresh, and you cook them just right, they will squeak when you eat them. (Not in a morbid-I’m-squeaking-in-protest-to-you-eating-me kind of way, but in an OMG-these-are-delicious kind of way!)
We grow three different types of snap beans: Green, Yellow, and Dragon Tongue. Some years we also have French Filet and purple beans. Snap beans are different from dried or Edamame beans, in that you eat the entire pod rather than just the beans themselves. Fresh beans from the garden are an entirely different experience than frozen, store-bought, or canned beans, so we encourage you to give them a try even if you think you don’t like them!
Farmer Jon’s favourite bean is the Dragon Tongue Bean. They are cream colored flat & wide snap beans which have purple streaks on the pods. I call those your “cooking indicator”: the beans are fully cooked when the purple fades away and the beans become a soft yellow color. A customer at market described the Dragon Tongue Beans as “creamy”, which is a word I love to describe them. They are very tender and sweet.
Season: We try to have beans available as soon as possible (mid- to late-July, depending on the growing season), and they sometimes go right until frost in late September or early October.
Storage Tips: Store fresh beans in the fridge in the bag they come in for up to 1 week. If there is lots of condensation in the bags (as sometimes happens in transit), poke a few holes first, or transfer to a dry bag.
Discard any beans that show signs of brown rot (mushy) or mold due to being wet in the bag. Rust, on the other hand, is not a big deal – brown spots on the beans that are superficial and not mushy. It can happen from condensation or even from wind damage in the field. We do not pick beans when the plants are wet in order to avoid excessive rust.
Preparation Tips: You don’t need a fancy recipe- just steam until still crisp-tender and top with butter and salt. No matter what kind of fresh snap bean you have, don’t overcook them! Taste frequently while cooking to make sure you maintain the “squeak” that you should hear and feel in your mouth while eating them. Depending on the type and how fat they are, they only take about 3 – 5 minutes to steam.
You can eat beans raw, but just be careful not to consume too many, they may give you a stomachache. One of our favourite ways to enjoy beans is cooked and chilled atop a salad– Like the Nicoise Salad recipe on our website.
Beans freeze well– simply cut off the stem end and wash, blanch (toss in boiling water until it boils again), remove the beans and put in an ice-bath, and then let dry if you want them frozen individually, and portion into bags and freeze. They will be a welcome sight in your freezer come winter!