No Skinny Beans or Eggplant Parmesan

Fresh Beans Snap

All the gardeners are out gardening. So, for those of you who don’t garden but like to eat, this blog is for you. If you are not blessed with a neighbor who grows too much and likes to share, then consider visiting the Farmers Markets.

In June, look for apricots, basil, beets, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, fennel, cut flowers, greens, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsley, peaches, peppers, potatoes, raspberries, rhubarb, shallots, snap beans, spinach, summer squash, strawberries, and turnips.

By snap beans, I mean what most folks refer to as green beans. Snap beans, string beans, or green beans are not always green. Look for white, purple, and yellow varieties at the market. Try the flat Italian type, the petite French variety, or, Chinese long beans. There are string beans and stringless, yellow wax, lima, butter beans and fresh green soybeans.

The traditional fresh green beans you find at the market are more flavorful than the weeks old “fresh” green beans found in some stores. To check for freshness, snap a bean. It should break crisply and not bend. Fresh green beans are available for a longer season than most produce because more than one crop can be planted in a growing season.

If you are lucky enough to find fresh beans that are not the usual grocery store type limp grey/green bean, snap them up. Variety is one of the advantages of local Farmers Markets.

This is where the photo of the green beans
would have been if somebody hadn’t eaten them all.

French Cuisine – Rabbit Food

Since the rabbits in my neighborhood have developed a taste for haricots vert, I’ll be looking for them at the farmers’ market. Haricots vert [ah-ree-koh VEHR] is French for “green bean.” If you are not brave enough to try the pronunciation in public, just ask the farmer for those skinny French green beans. These tiny tender green beans are great served cold and lightly marinated. The neighbor next door makes a pickled green bean called Dilly Beans.

I always steam more than I think the two of us can eat for dinner in the hope that there will be leftovers for my lunch. It rarely happens. My husband and the rabbits have this in common: they will eat every haricot vert in site. I planned to grow a bumper crop of the skinny French green beans, but evidently word got out among the wildlife population. Rabbits eat what I grow and my sweet husband eats what I buy at the market. There is always a haricots vert shortage at my house.

Botany Vs. Gardening

Looks suspiciously like Eggplant Parmesan.
Weeds Parmesan

My sweetie is a botanist. I am just a simple gardener. The botanist, told me that eggplant is not on the food chain. If it is not on the food chain, I wonder why the Burpee and Baker Creek sell eggplant seed with all the other vegetable seed.

Still, even the clerk at the Garden Center knew this. When I went through check-out, I made the enlightened comment that eggplant wasn’t considered part of the food chain by some gardeners and botanists. “I know,” she said. “I agree. You won’t find eggplant anywhere near my garden.” Maybe the Garden Center doesn’t know it has mislabeled all of the eggplants as vegetables.

As Sweetie explains it, eggplants aren’t plants, they are weeds really, and not meant to be food. I planted eggplant in the garden anyway. Later this summer, we will try a new recipe: Weeds Parmesan. It’s a favorite of mine that tastes remarkably like Eggplant Parmesan.

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