Bean, beans, be@ns

Pickin’ beans on the farm is picking my favorite vegetable. Whether the beans be haricots vert or dragonstooth or yellow wax variety, they can be picked in rows of low growing bush vines. You will have to get down on your knees for picking. You have to look carefully for some varieties because they blend in so easily with the vines and foliage.

Whether you are wearing jeans, or just shorts your knees will have the dirty look that certifies you have been down in the dirt today. Not bad, if you want to look like a farmer.

If you want to show off call your green beans: haricots vert. There, you are no ordinary farmer. You have traveled to France. Haricots Vert are the unripe, or young unripe fruit and protective pods of the common bean. They are harvested and consumed with their enclosing pods before the seeds have fully ripened. Green beans are called sometimes String Beans for the the string which is a hard fibrous strand running the length of the pod. This can be removed before cooking or the bean can be cut into short segments to make them easily edible. Some modern varieties lack strings.

We have three other varieties of beans on the UW Farm. One is named Dragon’s tongue or Dragon’s tooth for the purple variegated creamy white pods. Next, our yellow wax beans have a pale cornflower colored stringless pod. They have a satin or or matte finish which look waxy. One of the most famous varieties is named Buerre De Rocquefort Bush Wax Bean. It can be succulent and tender firm with a grassy, sweet nutty flavor.

Our most deceptive variety of bean have pods purple in color. If you slice the bean lengthwise, however, the inside is green. The big surprise comes when you cook the beans. The pods turn green.

When harvesting beans we do not pay as much attention to making sure of our count. You surely have heard of counting beans by the bushel. That’s a hint: most of us can’t keep the counting going in our heads high enough for all the beans we picked more by volume of the containers we use.

Picking beans has been the source of much common wisdom:

“It doesn’t amount to a hill of beans!”

When trying to figure out if something is significant or not:

“Quit being a bean counter!”


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