Monday, September 10, 2012

Pole Beans

   One of the things that turned out very well this year is our Blue Lake pole beans. They were a little late in getting started due mainly to the fact that I had to move a major portion of the garden thanks to Everett City Water's access road. I'm not bitter about that because I really love our wonderful water. Also  I'm very happy having a significant portion of the vegetable garden in our very sunny front yard. Anyhow, once the pole beans got going they have made up for lost time. I started picking green beans about a week ago. Today I got a gallon of green beans in just one picking.

    I'm trying something different this year with the green beans. In the past I've always pressure canned our green beans. I will still probably can some green beans this year. However, I'm also trying lacto-fermentation with green beans. Think of it as making sour kraut with green beans.  I learned about this method of preservation in a book I now carry at the bee store, "Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning".  It describes various traditional methods of food preservation in France that were collected by a French organic gardening organization called Terre Vivante.  The process is pretty simple with green beans. I simply had to cut off the ends and pack the beans into a jar. Then I added a brine solution of 1 quart of water and 2 tablespoons until the beans were covered. I sealed them up and now I just have to wait a few months for the lacto-fermentation to do its magic.
A one gallon jar of green beans ready for lacto-fermentation

There are other preservation techniques in the book that I would like to try.

    In addition to the green beans and dry beans we are harvesting lots of summer squash, all of it from just one plant.  I planted two summer squash plants, but one of them only produced male blossoms.  I also harvested our first zucchini today. Better late than never.  Our spaghetti squash are almost ready to pick. I've been watching carefully for the tendrils opposite each plant to begin to dry up. Winter squash were a total bust thanks to the slugs. Its just as well. Most of my winter squash seeds were obtained from a friend who will remain nameless.  Apparently, he was unaware that squash have to be separated from other varieties of squash in  order to set true seed.  The seeds he planted were crossed with zucchini and who knows what else and produced a motley mess of mutt squash.  I have several other books at the store that have instructions on how to save squash seed.  It involves separation of certain types of squash from each other with some hand pollination thrown in for good measure.  Since I would like to save seed from squash it appears that I am going to have to limit the types of squash I try to grow. My friend has persuaded me that both Golden Globe and Lakota are winter squash varieties worth trying. I'm going to pick just one of them to try next year.


  1. That looks like a super-cool book! I wonder what lacto-fermented beans taste like?

  2. I'm not sure exactly how they taste as I've never done this before. The book mentions a tangy flavor and the fact that they are a bit salty. I only plan on doing the one gallon this year as I want to see whether we like them before I do large quantities

  3. Mom used to make what she called "pickled beans" and "pickled corn" using the sour kraut method. As children, we loved to grab the corn on the cob from the large crock and eat it cold. Pickled beans were always cooked, usually with a hunk of fat back and maybe potatoes. I remember these foods looked pretty nasty as the fermentation process took place.

  4. Thanks for the feedback. I wouldn't have thought of preserving sweet corn using this method. The book probably didn't mention corn as it originated in France where they don't use or grow corn.