Saturday, July 9, 2011

Steamed Green Beans

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on $10/day.

I hope you'll forgive me for this post. It's a little self-indulgent. You see, once upon a time (as in, like, 3 years ago) I'd never eaten any green beans except those which came from a can. They were always kind of mushy. And army green. I could eat them and all, but I didn't really like them. Because of this, I assumed I didn't really like green beans. And then my mother-in-law (who is a killer gardener) gave me several bags of bean seeds that she couldn't use. I had a garden and in my garden I had lots of corn. I knew that corn and beans were good companion plants. Bean plants release nitrogen into the soil and corn likes nitrogen a lot. So I planted some beans in a row by my corn. And then I harvested the pretty thin pods and I didn't know how to cook them. I had to call my sister-in-law who loves green beans and ask her. I'm pretty sure that at points throughout our relationship she has probably wondered if I'm retarded. (Um, no, Shelle just a little learning deficient in some areas.) Anyway, she told me to steam them until they were fork tender and serve them with butter, salt, and pepper.

I did and--oh my. Another new food love affair was born. They're just so good. And so easy. And so cheap. And so healthy. And so--so green. Bright verdant happy green. And even kindergarteners can grow the things. Not that you have to grow them because they should be popping up in farmer's markets and coming on sale in stores at this time of year. But if you want to grow them, it's easy to do. (You can probably--though I've never tried--even get a late start because they mature quickly, so grab a pot already.)

Now the reason for this post is that I thought that there might be a few people out there who, like me, are new to fresh, whole foods and don't know what to do with a fresh green bean. For you, if you exist and are reading a food blog, you gotta try this.

Steamed Green Beans
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes (depending on how many beans you have)
Cost: Mine were free; I'm not sure how much they're running this time of year, but I'm guessing less than $1/pound

Note: I grow slenderettes, blue lake, and wax beans (which are yellow, not green, and are actually my favorite). None of these has a significant string, which was a fear I had when growing beans. You want a bean that is slender and doesn't have big old seeds protruding out the sides, like it wants to bust.

bunch green beans, ends removed
pat butter
salt and pepper

Steam green beans. (Put in a pot with some type of steaming basket and put the lid on). Cook for 5-10 minutes or until they beans can be pierced easily with a fork, but are not mushy when pierced.

Remove from pot. Serve with butter, salt, and pepper. If you're feeling frisky you can use lemon pepper, which is also really good.

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