Great Green Beans
By Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers
Jun 3, 2006, 12:42
Green beans are available year round, with a peak season of May to October. Good quality beans should have long, straight pods and be well-colored. They should also be free of decay or blemishes and snap easily when bent. There are some interesting varieties of green beans on the market - Chinese yardlong and French hericort verts are two that you might consider trying.
Storage and ripening: Refrigerate unwashed in a plastic bag.
Preparation: Trim or snap off both ends. (an excellent job for your little kitchen helper). Wash in clean, cool water before cooking.
Here are a few easy ideas to add green beans in your meals:
Layer blanched green beans, tomato slices, and Vidalia onion rings on a platter. Drizzle with a Dijon vinaigrette.
Sauté green beans in butter until crisp tender. Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese and crisp bacon bits just before serving.
Add a dash of balsamic vinegar to sautéed green beans just prior to serving.
Add chopped (1/2 inch length), uncooked greens beans, to soup or risotto prior to cooking.
Thaw and drain a package of frozen French-style green beans and add it to a stuffing recipe.
Green beans and firm tofu are the perfect ingredients for a spicy Chinese stir-fry.
Make an easy 3 bean salad for picnics, potlucks and block parties:
Start with 1 can (16 oz) each: green beans, red kidney beans and garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed for 60 seconds). Add 1 small red onion cut in very thin slices, 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice and 2/3 cup of Italian Salad Dressing. Toss to mix flavors. Can be made a day ahead. Refrigerate.
Toddler Treat: Green Bean Casserole
This casserole is a quick and easy variation on popular Holiday classic recipe. It's a crowd pleaser, especially with kids. Freeze leftovers in single servings and you will always have a veggie available for the kids on nights when you plan to go out.
1-2 packages (16-20 ounces) of frozen French style green beans, thawed
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
½ cup of milk (dairy, soy or rice)
1 small onion diced (optional)
Fresh bacon bits (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place green beans, and onion in a casserole dish. Pour mushroom soup and milk over the top, and mix gently. Place in the oven for 25 minutes. Let stand for 5-10 minutes and sprinkle with fresh bacon bits prior to serving.
Storage: Refrigerate 3-4 days and freeze for up to 2 months.
About the authors: Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers are sisters, the mothers of five children and founders of Fresh Baby, creators of products such as homemade baby food kits, baby food cookbooks, baby food and breast milk storage trays, breastfeeding reminders, and child development diaries. Visit them online at www.FreshBaby.com and subscribe to their Fresh Ideas newsletter to get monthly ideas, tips and activities for developing your family's healthy eating habits!