Tag Archive for green beans

Green Beans, Using and Storing Garden Produce

Right now green beans are in full production at Little Sprouts.

I used to hate green beans, in fact I did most of my life, I remember hating them as a young child. About 4 years ago, when my gardening career was just budding, I asked one of my daycare families if they wanted me to water their garden while they were out of town for a week and it was 100 degrees every day. They said sure, and said I could pick whatever was ripe from it. I jumped on that, but when I got over there, I saw they had a ton of green beans ready to pick.

Green bean production, growing, using, and storing

I thought to myself, ew, but I knew I should not let them go to waste on the vines. I picked a sack full and brought them home thinking I could feed them to the kids. I cooked them up and to my surprise, I ABSOLUTELY LOVED them! They were amazing. I have been helping the kids plant green beans and enjoying eating them with them ever since.

I LOVE green beans! Yum yum!


This year we planted a variety of green beans including a purple variety we got in our seeds of the month membership. We just picked our first batch of purple ones today and they look so beautiful! I can’t wait to try them. At Little Sprouts we plant most things in succession. That way we have a longer season of harvest as well as less glut all at once of one thing. Every two weeks we put in another row of green beans. As the plants get tired and worn out, the new ones are ready.

Growing green beans is fun.

The vines and bushes are really pretty and the little beans are so cute as they come on. I LOVE growing them. When we get enough to save, it’s super exciting to think about eating them in winter too. We are not allowed to serve home canned foods in daycare, so our green bean storage choices are dehydrating or freezing.

green bean cooking, world famous green beans

If you dehydrate your green beans, cut them into one inch pieces before you start. Dehydrate them until they are totally dried. You can use them in soups and stews. They retain their flavor and most of their nutrients. Another way you can use dehydrated green beans is to put them in the blender dry and make them into powder. Then add them to dishes for extra nutrients. No one will ever know. Trust me, it works great!

We freeze our extra green beans.

To freeze your green beans you wash and snap them into one inch pieces. Then blanch them. Bring a big stock pot of water to a boil. Add a teaspoon or so of salt. Toss in a few handfuls of green beans, and let them cook for 3-4 minutes or until bright green. Take them out of the water and shock them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain them and bag them up. Remove as much air as possible from the bag and get it to the freezer as quickly as possible.

Many people say they don’t like frozen green beans, but I find if you cook them right (long enough), they taste amazing and have a wonderful texture. Believe me, texture is a big ole deal to me.

There are so many ways to use your fresh or stored green beans. You can make a side dish with them. There are many green bean casserole recipes or you can just serve them plain with some salt, pepper and butter. My last post was my world famous green bean recipe. It’s so good, kids are talking about it all over the place. Click here to check it out.

world famous green bean recipe cooking

Green beans are great added to soups and stews.

They can be added to casseroles. Green beans can be used in stir fry. You can marinate them in a fresh salad, they can be pickled, they can go in pasta salad or pasta dishes. They can be used fresh or blanched in salads. You can roast them in green bean bundles. There are unlimited ways they can be served for something new and exciting.

Don’t shy away from the humble and familiar green bean. All it needs is some new perspective. What’s your favorite way to eat them?

Don’t forget to pin this post for later.

Green Beans, Using and Storing Garden Produce

World Famous Green Bean Recipe

World Famous Green Bean Recipe

My daycare kids LOVE my world famous green beans.

A few years ago, when I had some older boys enrolled in care, they would ask me to cook this green bean recipe all the time. I would make them as soon as we could get enough green beans from the garden. They dubbed them world famous and who am I to argue with that. Pre-teen boys know where it’s at! It’s comfort food. 

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Garden Glory-Green Tomatoes

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Today is Halloween and tonight we are supposed to get our first frost.  That will kill all our tomatoes, okra, peppers, and most of our herbs.   I’m super sad to see this part of the garden go.  But there are still fall veggies to grow and there’s always next year.  We have learned so much and I can’t wait to start planning for that! 

picking tomatoes with kids

This week my Little Sprouts and I picked over 75 pounds of produce.  We have 24 pounds of little green tomatoes to use, so if you have any suggestions, let us know! 

gardening harvest with kids

We picked 40 pounds of watermelon.  The squash bugs finally got our watermelon vines and I wasn’t sure if the tendrils turned brown because of that or if they were ripe.  Nonetheless, the frost was coming anyway, so we picked our five watermelons.  Sadly, the kids busted three of them on the way in the house…   I cut those three up and one of the was ready and really yummy. 

watermelong gardening with kids


We picked 27 pounds of tomatoes, some green beans, tomatillos, okra, and a ton of peppers and HERBS!  Over three POUNDS of herbs!  Wow!

herbs gardening with kids

harvest day with kids

green beans gardening with kids

We also harvested two ten gallon buckets of drying beans, but I’m not sure how much weight is in the vines, so I’m going to weigh them after we shell them.  We have to wait for them to dry to do that.

drying beans, gardening with kids

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Has frost hit your area yet?

Garden Glory-Pears!

This week my Little Sprouts and I harvested 21 pounds of food.  Our pear tree has fire blight and is dying and we didn’t see any pears on it this year.  Sad, because we usually harvest over 250 pounds of pears.  To our surprise there were a handful of pears ripe on the tree this week, hiding from us and the ornery raccoons that usually help themselves to much of our fruit. 

harvesting watermelon with kids

We also picked this lovely 13 pound watermelon this week.

harvesting veggies with kids

The kids have so much fun in the garden exploring and finding treats.  I cannot remember what our life was like before we had all this great learning and exploration we enjoy in the garden.

picking radishes with kids

ladybug in the garden

Here the kids discovered a cute little ladybug crawling up the okra.

The days are cooling and the getting shorter so the time for the garden is coming to a close, but the garden has birthed so much awe and wonder for us this year.  I can’t wait until Spring!  I love cold weather and winter, but I’m going to miss all the fun we have watching amazing things grow.  Is anything still growing around you?


 

Garden Glory-Sweet Potatoes

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Isn’t this lavender gorgeous?  It smells amazing too.  It’s glorious to sit near it and watch the busy bees working. 

You won’t believe our harvest this week!  My Little Sprouts and I harvested over 84 pounds of food this week!  The tomatoes and okra are slowing down, but we dug our sweet potatoes today and yesterday we harvested most of our second corn crop.

sweet potato vines

This is one of our two sweet potato beds.  To harvest the sweet potatoes, first we cut all the vines back. 

sweet potato bed


Then we started digging.  It was like hunting for treasures.  We all had so much fun doing it.

digging sweet potatoes

This was the biggest one found while the kids were here, but they tired out so we finished harvesting after work tonight.  We found a few that were bigger than this one.  It was over 4 pounds, but we found three more that were about 5 1/2 pounds.

giant sweet potato

The kids were excited.  We harvested 73 pounds of sweet potatoes total.

sweet potato harvest

sweet potato haul

73 pounds of sweet potatoes

We harvested a couple of melons this week.  The squash bugs have taken down all of our cantaloupe vines, so this will be our last one.  We still have a number of watermelons growing though.

Melon Harvest

Here is a look at what else we harvested this week.

october harvest

This is all the corn we got.  It was about 4 pounds.  I’m not sure what we are doing wrong, but the ears don’t get very big.  We figured out how to pollinate it by hand and while we didn’t do it perfectly, we got a LOT more corn that pollinated than last time.  Once the tassles formed and began dropping pollen, we took one off the stalk each day and rubbed it on the silks of all the ears of corn.  Hand pollinating is as simple as that.

harvesting corn

The kids had lots of fun picking the corn. 

The weather has cooled off here so it’s 60-80 degrees when we are in the garden.  It’s very pleasant work now that the summer heat is gone. 

What is your favorite thing to harvest?

Garden Glory-Figs

fig

My Little Sprouts and I are still getting harvests each week even though they are getting smaller and smaller.  This week we harvested over 17 pounds of food.  Included in that was our very first fig from our fig tree! 

This is Monday’s harvest:

gardening harvesting with kids

I forgot to take a picture of the harvest today, but I did get shots of the kids picking it.

harvesting tomatoes with kids

harvesting peppers with kids


We picked a total of 10 pounds of tomatoes, 2 1/2 pounds of okra, 3 1/2 pounds of cantaloupe, and a pound of green beans as well as some tomatillos, hot peppers, and other assorted goodies including one beautiful little fig.  🙂 

Is anything still growing in your garden?

 

 

Garden Glory-Green Beans

The Little Sprouts Learning Garden is starting to rebound from the super hot part of the summer.  As the weather has remained cool, the tomatoes, peppers, green beans and other plants have started to flower and set fruit again.  Also, the things we did a second planting of are starting to produce.  We replanted during an unseasonably cool week in august when it had cooled off enough for some things to germinate.  We planted carrots, radishes, corn, peas, and green beans.  We also planted seedlings for broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.  The green beans have started producing now and the corn is making ears.  We harvested 18 pounds of produce this week.

garden harvest day

September harvest

This is Monday’s harvest.

It’s really nice that picking, weeding, and trimming have become bearable again.  Our temperatures lows are in the 60’s and highs in the 80’s this week and it is lovely. 

kids harvesting tomatoes

harvesting cantaloupe

gardening with kids harvesting

september harvest with cantaloupe

This is today’s harvest.

This week my Little Sprouts and I picked a pound of green beans, 2 pounds of okra, 7 pounds of cantaloupe, 8 pounds of tomatoes and a few other odds and ends. 

gerber daisy


Walking around the garden today, we discovered this perfect little gerber daisy hiding in the swiss chard.  She was just peeking out to say hello.  🙂

What’s growing in your garden?

Garden Glory-Sunflowers!

My little sprouts and I harvested over 70 pounds of produce this week AND a table full of amazing sunflowers.  It’s been a very productive week in the garden.  Some of the tomato plants are turning brown and our cucumbers are dying.  I’m not exactly sure why, but it’s sad to see them go. 

On Saturday while the kids were gone I took the time to trim some things up in the garden that were out of control.  I harvested a bunch of herbs for drying.

On Saturday while the kids were gone I took the time to trim some things up in the garden that were out of control. I harvested a bunch of herbs for drying.  This is thyme and oregano.  I also harvested some lemon balm, bee balm, and tarragon.

This is a big CHAIR full of basil.  Even though it had flowered, I took it off the stems and ground it up into pesto and put it in the freezer.  I had over two pounds.  And I didn't even put a dent in what's out there, I just cut what was blocking the walkways.

This is a big CHAIR full of basil. Even though it had flowered, I took it off the stems and ground it up into pesto and put it in the freezer. I had over two pounds. And I didn’t even put a dent in what’s out there, I just cut what was blocking the walkways.

basil

I also harvested 8 pounds of greens including swiss chard, spinach, and this kale.  I washed and stemmed it and dried it in the dehydrator.  Then I ground it up finely in the blender to use as a nutritional enhancer in the kid's food.

I also harvested 8 pounds of greens including swiss chard, spinach, and this kale. I washed and stemmed it and dried it in the dehydrator. Then I ground it up finely in the blender to use as a nutritional enhancer in the kid’s food.

Brussels sprouts are tough to harvest WITH the kids because I had to saw the stalks down and cut the sprouts off with a knife.  They have helped me pick the sprouts off one stalk at a time, but with several, I thought it was safer to do it without them.  I harvested 4 stalks and got 3 pounds of sprouts.  They are one of my favorites.  The kids liked them too!

Brussels sprouts are tough to harvest WITH the kids because I had to saw the stalks down and cut the sprouts off with a knife. They have helped me pick the sprouts off one stalk at a time, but with several, I thought it was safer to do it without them. I harvested 4 stalks and got 3 pounds of sprouts. They are one of my favorites. The kids liked them too!

I harvested all of these beautiful hot peppers to make pickled peppers for Mr. Kent.

I harvested all of these beautiful hot peppers to make pickled peppers for Mr. Kent.

I found a few more tomatillos when I had more time to really look.

I found a few more tomatillos when I had more time to really look.

Monday's harvest included lots of tomatoes and cucumbers.

Monday’s harvest included lots of tomatoes and cucumbers.

We got okra and tomatillos as well.

We got okra and tomatillos as well.

And some cantaloupe and kohlrabi, and parsley.  Yum yum.

And some cantaloupe and kohlrabi, and parsley. Yum yum.

We were planning to let our sunflowers dry on the stalks, but the birds had other plans, so we cut them down, explored them a big and laid them on a screen to dry in the shed and harvest them from there.

Tuesday we harvested some of our sunflower heads.  We were planning to let our sunflowers dry on the stalks, but the birds had other plans, so we cut them down, explored them a bit and laid them on a screen to dry in the shed and harvest them from there.

Yesterday's harvest gave us more tomatoes, melons, okra, cucumbers, a few green beans, and some more tomatillos!

Yesterday’s harvest gave us more tomatoes, melons, okra, cucumbers, a few green beans, and some more tomatillos!  (And as usual, plenty of SMILES!)

Garden Glory-Potatoes

This week the kids and I harvested over 52 pounds of produce, including potatoes. Wow! I can’t believe how much wonderful success we’ve been having. Yummy stuff. There were also some failures. Gardening is like that and you learn something new every day!

Monday's harvest...

Monday’s harvest…

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We picked all of this today as well.

We picked all of this today as well.


So where is the failure? We finished harvesting the last of our potatoes and total harvested 9 pounds. Why is that failure? Because we planted 4 pounds. We would have been fine just eating the seeds and not going through all the trouble. I’m not sure why we can’t find success with potatoes. Our first year we got three tiny marbles, last year we planted two pounds and got four. I would think that we could grow more than double what we are planting. It’s really frustrating because store bought potatoes make me violently ill because of the formaldehyde that is sprayed on them to keep them from sprouting, so I really look forward to the day when I can grow my own for storage.

Another area we had trouble with was our corn. We picked around 45 ears that were full of kernels, but then we got a lot of ears like this:
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Nothing was eating these, they just didn’t form kernels. I did some asking around on the internet and found out that each silk hair is attached to a kernel and when it gets pollinated, the kernel forms. Corn is not pollinated with bees and butterflies, it is pollinated by the wind. So the tassels on the top of the corn have the pollen and the wind blows it to the silks. Very interesting. You can shake your corn or brush through it with your hand each day during pollen production to help the corn pollinate. We have planted another crop of corn and will be trying to help with pollination this time. Like I said, you learn something in the garden every day. Also, our ears were very small and I’m not sure why that happened either, but I would take small if they had some corn on them. Sheesh!

What have you been picking and learning?

Garden Glory-Our First Cantaloupe

We finally harvested our first ever cantaloupe! This week’s harvest was plentiful and exciting for me and the Little Sprouts! We harvested over 56 pounds of food this week. Take a look!

Monday's pick.  We picked 35 pounds of tomatoes this week.  I was amazed.  Salsa, here we come!

Monday’s pick. We picked 35 pounds of tomatoes this week. I was amazed. Salsa, here we come!

 

Corn picking was very fun.

Corn picking was very fun.

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We finally got a batch of brussel sprouts.  They grow so pretty.

We finally got a batch of brussel sprouts. They grow so pretty.


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The first cantaloupe slipped off the vine of our mystery volunteer plant.  We can't wait to taste it.

The first cantaloupe slipped off the vine of our mystery volunteer plant. We can’t wait to taste it.

 

We got a pound of carrots.  They are hard to pick.

We got a pound of carrots. They are hard to pick.

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There are bunches of tomatoes coming on.

There are bunches of tomatoes coming on.

 

This thing weighed a whole pound!

This thing weighed a whole pound!

 

This little fella visited us in the carrot patch.

This little fella visited us in the carrot patch.

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This was our best week in the garden yet. It was really fun to see the kids be so excited about some success. What did you pick this week?

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