The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is bursting with beans; green, yellow and even purple.
Your kids might enjoy watching as the purple beans turn green when they’re cooked in boiling water. Beans are often referred to as snap beans because of the sound they make when snapping them into pieces before cooking. They’re also often referred to as string beans because of the fibrous string that may run down one side. However, most cultivated beans have been bred to be stringless. Yellow snap beans are sometime called wax beans for their waxy color. All of them have an edible pod and seed making them a good source of fiber.
Several farmers at the market are offering a discount on large quantities of beans, so buy them now to preserve. To freeze beans bring a large pot of water to a boil, add no more than 6 cups of beans at a time and blanch for 2-3 minutes after the water has returned to a boil. Drain the beans and cool quickly in ice cold water, drain and pack in freezer bags, label and date.
Canning procedures can be found on line at www.homefoodpreservation.com. Unless beans are pickled, such as dilly beans, they must be canned in a pressure cooker. Cornell Cooperative Extension is offering a pressure canning class on Thursday, August 21, 6-8:30. Call 885-8995, or go to www.ccesaratoga.org for more information.
If you’re looking for a new way to serve beans, try the Snap Bean Hummus recipe below. Hummus is usually made with dry beans, such as garbanzo beans while this recipe uses the whole bean including the edible pod and seed.
Snap Bean Hummus
1 quart (4 cups) snap beans* (green, yellow or purple)
½ cup tahini
3 cloves garlic*
3 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
Snap off the stem end of the beans then snap them into 2 inch lengths.
Lightly cook beans either in boiling water for 10 minutes or in a microwave with ¼ cup of water for 4 minutes.
Cool to room temperature then place in the bowl of a food processor along with the other ingredients. Process until the desired consistency is reached.
Serve with vegetable sticks, pita chips or crackers. Makes 16 servings.
Nutrition per ¼ cup serving: 60 calories, 4.5 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 40 mg sodium, 4 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein.
Ingredients marked with an asterisk (*) are available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market on High Rock Avenue. For information about food preservation and nutrition contact Diane Whitten at Cornell Cooperative Extension at 885-8995or firstname.lastname@example.org.