Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Holy Horticulture Beans!

Holy Horticulture Beans! Would you look at these beauties?

Wow did we score - the Good Neighbors spent the other day canning 32 pints of beans and they still had 2 five gallon buckets of them. Did I want them? Sure I did!

Regionally these beautiful pink and cream beans are known as "Horticulture Beans" but I think they go by other names. To me these look like some of the Italian varieties - so you can bet your brushetta there is gonna be some pasta y fagioli coming soon.

I was able to find some seeds for my garden at a local feed store but Ed Hume also sells the seeds. I'd never even heard of them but when the Good Neighbors gave me a can last year, well, it was love at first bite. You can use them for just about anything - ours may be used like pinto beans for refried beans, in stews, in a savory baked bean pot, or just as a side dish.

To grow Horticulture Beans, just like any bean, stick 'em in the ground and stand back. However, unlike fresh green beans, let these guys mature on the vine before you pick them. Wait until the pods start getting dried out then bring in your haul and make yourself comfortable.  Shelling beans is easy and fun. Just grab an empty bucket for the pods, crack open a pod, and let the fresh and lovely beans fall into a clean bowl. Last nite while I was watching So You Think You Can Dance I shelled a big pile of them. Easy peasy.

You can compost the leavin's or any beans that are too far gone, or do like I am later today - toss them in an empty garden row and see if any sprout.Of course, keep some for seeds next year - just let them get good and dried out in the pod before storage.

Canning is just as easy. Check out how I canned some pinto beans - its basically the same process. Pickyourown.org is a great site for canning know-how. I swear, once you can your own beans you'll never go back to buying them in the store. Sound like a lot of work? Nope and besides, what else are you gonna do? Might as well do something useful.

While we're talking about canning.... I was in one of those big stores the other day and noticed a no-name/store-name box of canning jars for a dollar or so less than my regular brand.. Folks, everyone has to make their own decisions, but I tell you the truth - that Made in the USA label gets my dollars every time. So I picked up my case of Ball Canning Jars and marched up to the cashier to vote for American jobs with my money. 

Is everyone canning today? I've got a batch of tomato sauce finishing up right now. Beans are next and then we'll see what else I can get done today.

Happy Friday everyone!


Rae said...

Ooooh! Pretty and swirly.

My guy laughs at me for choosing certain beans because they're tasty AND pretty. He just doesn't understand... :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, to have a bucket of beans! I didn't do beans this year. I concentrated on tomatoes, cucumbers, cantalopes and lots of basil and had a bummer crop! First time ever! Got some watermelons and some different peppers that are goin' good. Late summer planting will be pumpkin, butternut, cabbage, swiss chard, spinach, collards and some other greens. It will be my first time planting late summer, I'm excited!

After reading your post I'm planning on canning some beans today(I have a stock of dried beans). Love your site, you post everyday which I think is great.


Tami said...

I'm so glad you wrote this post. I planted good ole bush beans (green and golden) but have often wondered about dried beans. I plan on making space in my garden next year. Thanks for the link!

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

What a nice haul of beans! I love Cranberry beans when they are fresh and frozen..but now when they are canned ..they seem to grow larger and the taste is different..neither of us developed a taste for Pinto beans...I'm still doing tomatoes too, a neighbor is being generous (she doesn't can). and I'm using everyone she sends me..

Tracey said...

I'm glad you posted this about the beans. I planted a bunch (first time) and threw away the packet so I wasn't sure when to pick them.

NancyDe said...

I did some salsa last weekend and some marmalade several weeks ago. Not getting enough of one thing to do much more canning than that.

sheila said...

French's Horticultural Beans is what they were called. My Mom used to can 100 quarts of these every year from beans we grew in the garden. The job of picking and shelling was a kid job. I've spent hours shelling, until my fingers were sore. Not a bad task to do while watching TV or listening to the radio. They are the best flavored bean. We ate lots of Chili during the winter. The other favorite was to mix them with canned or frozen sweet corn and some butter, salt and pepper. Some homemade bread and a glass of milk and you have a whole meal. I also remember mashing canned beans with a fork and mixing in fresh ground homemade horseradish, mayo, salt and pepper and using this as a sandwich spread or a dip for raw veggies or crackers. My father worked construction and often was laid off during the winter. The 1,000 quarts of canned goodies, full potato bins, stuffed freezers, braids of hanging onions, and a pile of winter squash made surviving the winter possible on an unemployment check.

David P. Offutt - The Gastronomic Gardener said...

Oh how I wish I had a bucket of needs to can! I'll be doing another 4 quarts or so of dill pickles today. These will be gifts as I don't go through gallons of pickles a year. Boy did Sheila's comments hit home! So many of us do this because we love it. How many did it because they had to?

Ken Broadhurst said...

What's the advantage of canning beans over just drying them and cooking them later? This is a real question. I'm growing lima beans this summer.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Happy pickling, Dave! And yep, you are just right. Sheila hit the nail on the head. We'll be talking more about this soon.

Hi Ken! Always great to see you! Canning is a great option for a couple reasons:
1. There is something about the taste and quality of home/pressure canned beans. Its hard to explain how darn good they are.
2. Ease - they are ready to eat. A great option if your electric is out - or if you just want a quick meal. We've made bean-based meals in minutes instead of having to soak/cook/prepare them.
3. Efficiency - it takes just as much work to can a whole mess of beans then go just do a couple servings at a time.

But if you don't have the storage space then, sure dry them out. Or do a combo of both. Winter is actually a great time to can beans..so if you dry them at harvest you can easily do a bean canning project on a day when the weather is bad and you don't mind getting a little heat in the house.

I thought about you yesterday - my okra is growing like mad! I'm very excited.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

NOTE: yikes! I dunno where my replies went to.. hum.. I'll try this again...

Hi Rae! I think these beans are just beautiful!

Hi Shaolin! Hope that your beans turned out - you'll just love them. Excellent work on your gardening!

Tami, you'll love having your own dried beans, for sure. (ps your dog nose pic just cracks me up!)

Hi Ginny! Yep I believe they are called Cranberry beans also... they are so lovely. I'll be doing another round of maters soon.

Hi Tracey! Yep pick 'em when ready...its kinda exciting to crack them open for the first time. Look! You made a bean! Whoot!

Hey NancyDe! Great to see you - maybe you can score some bargains at the farmers market? Don't be afraid to ask the vendors for "anything too ugly to sell" - folks are happy to bargain.

Sheila - all great information, really thanks for sharing. I've been thinking about your meal of bread n beans.. wow thats pretty yummmO. Sounds like your family had a great system. More on this coming soon.

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