Purple Green Beans; growing and freezing beans

I picked the first of my favorite summer vegetable yesterday.

I’ll admit that my favorite vegetable is usually the one on my plate…. But I have a particular fondness for fresh green beans.

Like sweet corn, they are best picked, cooked and eaten within a few hours.

One of the beans I planted this year is purple.

Purple stems, purple flowers and purple beans against the green leaves is gorgeous..

And look:


Even the bug is in green and purple.

There are over 14,000 members of the bean family, but only a small percentage are grown for human food.

Beans come in 3 main types: fresh, shelling and drying.

Fresh beans are eaten when young and the seeds are immature.  Both the pod and bean are eaten.  They are commonly called green or snap beans.

Shelling beans have matured longer in the pod. The seeds are larger and the pod is not eaten.  They are ‘shelled’ like peas and cooked fresh.

Drying beans (kidney,  pinto) are left to mature completely, removed from the pod and dried.

There are beans bred specifically to be at their best for each use, but some, like Kentucky Wonder, can be used in all three stages.  Some, bred for drying, will have a tough, stringy pod if eaten young.

For the home gardener, unless you live in a climate with a very long growing season, there simply may not be enough time to grow beans for drying.

The other consideration is whether to grow bush or pole beans.

Bush beans grow on low bushes.  They are ideal for the gardener who plans on freezing or canning the crop.  They normally produce one large crop, then, a few weeks later, another, smaller crop.

Pole beans climb and need to be supported either on a trellis-type system or a tee-pee.  I use wooden posts with cross beams and string for the beans to climb on.  Pole beans produce a smaller crop continuously.  I will normally pick every 2 or 3 days for about 6 weeks.  There will be a peak week where I have enough to freeze or give to the neighbors.

Freezing green beans, if you have the extra, is simple:  Blanch in rapidly boiling water for 3 minutes.  Drain and cool immediately in ice water.  Pack in freezer bags and freeze.

Purple and Green Beans
Fresh green beans can be braised, boiled, steamed, roasted, fried, or blanched and chilled for use in salads.

And I just did a bit of research and learned that blanching with a bit of baking soda or frying in butter will preserve the purple color…. I’ll try that tomorrow.

As to the taste – green, yellow and purple all taste the same.

Next year I have to find some yellow pole beans…. I do like colorful food!

Purple and Green Beans cooked with Basil

Braised Green and Purple Beans with Green and Purple Basil

8oz (250gr) green and purple beans   or all green
3 shallots    preferably freshly dug
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup chicken stock
handful green basil, snipped
handful purple basil, snipped
2 tsp butter

Top and tail beans…cut off the ends. Cut in half.  Cut shallots in half.  Heat olive oil in a small skillet.  Add shallots and sauté until starting to brown about 5 minutes.  Add beans, stock, cover and simmer over medium heat until just barely tender, about 7 minutes. Uncover and cook off any remaining liquid.  Remove from heat, add butter, herbs, stir to combine and serve.

Don’t you just love summer?

11 thoughts on “Purple Green Beans; growing and freezing beans”

  1. i love your purple beans – we only grow green beans, but this sure adds a bit of colour to the garden!

  2. Those are so beautiful!! (And the bug is very cute too. Does it eat the beans?)
    I was thinking that maybe adding a tiny bit of vinegar might set the colour – it works for beet greens and red Swiss chard, so it might work for purple beans too.

  3. Katie – those look soooo good. I could cry…my garden is very sad this year, on the Westcoast we have had a very cool, foggy summer…not much of a garden this year…I’m gonna miss those beautiful beans! Last year was incredible…now not so…oh well, there is still hope for next year. Ina

  4. I love that you paired the beans with green and purple basil. The dish is just beautiful. I didn’t know about the baking soda trick either. Must try that one.

  5. I love fresh green beans! I have to confess, I have never tried a purple been before. I am going to have to find some.

  6. Magic, summer colors ae so vibrant!
    Maria, and the flowers are so pretty – these were heirloom seeds.
    Elizabeth, the packet said they turned green when cooked so I didn’t even think about preserving the color. Now I shall experiment.
    Ina, mine was sad last year – but because of the rabbits. Didn’t know then, though.
    Shayne, I keep telling mon mari I need a pressure cooker. He keeps not listening.
    Christing, my purple basil has been the best ever this year. Usually it doesn’t do much but this year it’s gone crazy.

  7. Green beans are definitely the best just pulled off the vine. When I was little I used to go outside, pick them and eat them raw right there. So delish.
    I also just wrote a post partially about a purple veggie–cauliflower. It, too, tastes just like the regular kind. But having random spots of purple on your plate is fun.

  8. Baking Barrister, I saw purple cauliflower once – and orange and green. When I went back to buy they were gone, never to return. I dearly love my beans…

  9. blanching with a bit of baking soda or frying in butter will preserve the purple color
    I didn’t know that! It would be great if it worked.
    I will have to try this, these are my favourite beans and I grow them every year in my little veg bed.
    What a lovely blog this is, I saw your post on Ulrike’s blog…

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