Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pole Beans or Butter Beans

We didn't know what kind of butter beans we were going to get this summer:  pole butter beans or bush butter beans.  One thing for sure is that we wanted Sieva butter beans, also known as Carolina butter beans.  In the last few years, these particular butter beans have been difficult to obtain.  Some seed providers say it is because the beans were too susceptible to disease and/or nematodes and therefore have been replaced by Mezla butter beans.

This year, we are having a bumper crop of Sieva butter beans and we have picked, shelled, and eaten as fast as we possibly can.  We have been out there picking in the early morning hours to avoid the sun at its highest but it is difficult to avoid the humidity.

As soon as the beans have been shelled, the pot has been on for boiling water.  The beans will be frozen within hours of picking:  from the garden to the freezer in a short time.  So far, we have put three (3) pounds of beans into the freezer for use and enjoyment sometime during the winter months.

When the water starts to boil, I empty the bowl of shelled beans into the pot and let the water come to a simmer.  I then empty the water and the beans into a colander and let cool tap water chill the beans or at least stop the boiling.

Some people give the blanched beans an ice bath; that is, adding ice to a bowl of water, draining the beans, and then dunking the beans into the ice water to stop the boiling.  Go ahead, if you feel so inclined.

When I can comfortably handle the beans, I put them into quart size plastic bags and into the freezer they go.  It is a rather short process and what can be fresher?

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