Valley Bounty, August 10: Fresh Beans

String beans—most often green, but sometimes yellow, purple, or striped—are the most common bean in local markets, but look also for fresh shell beans.  Try them boiled until tender, then tossed with oil and vinegar, garlic, cherry tomatoes, and herbs.  String beans are delicious and crunchy raw, but can also be sautéed, pickled, or steamed, then chilled and tossed with dressing and a little feta cheese for a cool salad. 

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Preserving Tips:  Green beans freeze well and easily.  The National Center for Home Food Preservation’s bare bones directions for freezing green beans are here.  I recommend cooling the beans after blanching in a sink-full of water, and then drying by wrapping in a clean dishtowel before freezing.  We like to eat them in the winter sautéed with lots of garlic, or in soups and stir fries. Here’s a recipe from the canning blog Food in Jars for Dilly Beans, a classic pickled bean.
See also CISA’s page of home food preservation resources.