This blog post is about the best ways to clean, store, and prepare green beans, cut lettuce, and good ol' carrots.
Green beans are one of the staples of summer eating. Sometimes it's like you can't get enough of them. Sweet, nutritious, and easy to prepare, this vegetable has been found on many farmers' table at the end of a long day.
Beans grow like little trees, with a trunk and a canopy of broad open leaves. And, they can get notoriously weedy. The beans are the canopy of the forest, the weeds the understory.
When you open your bag of green beans, you may find little snips of grass that made it into the bin as we harvested. Although we try our best to remove these pieces, you might need to remove them.
The best way to clean your beans is to fill a large bowl with cold-lukewarm water. Submerge the beans and move your hand around the bowl to shake them around, swishing the beans in the water. Let them sit for a minute or two.
After letting them sit, you'll see that the grass has floated to the top. Skim those bits off or drain the water, holding the beans at the bottom of the bowl.
Do not wash your beans until you're ready to eat. Beans grab onto water and absorb it, so if you wash them and then do not use them immediately, they get mushy and start to decompose. Keep the unwashed beans in your fridge (in the plastic bag) until you're ready to wash and eat.
To prepare the beans, trim off the ends with the little stalk (the part that the bean attaches to the plant). You can use scissors or a small paring knife. It's a fun activity to do outside because the beans won't melt in the sun.
There are many ways to eat green beans. You can blanch them and serve with salt and butter or roast them in the oven, or saute them with garlic and aromatic herbs.
Here are some recipes:
Cut lettuce can be a tricky one. We're all used to the plastic boxes of lettuce you can buy at the store - sometimes these will last a week, if you're lucky. With the lettuce we've given out recently, the leaves have been removed from a stalk, which is different from that baby lettuce you might buy at the store. These leaves are a bit more mature and might not last as long in the fridge. Soooooo, eat these leaves within one to two days of receiving the bag.
The best way to keep them fresh is to submerge in a cold water bath and let sit for a minute. Remove from bath, spin or dry, and place in a clean plastic bag. Prick some holes in the bottom of the bag with a safety pin to let the leaves breathe. Or, you can place a clean paper towel in the bag to absorb moisture. Keep in chiller drawer of fridge.
Yessss! We finally did it! We were able to grow summer carrots! This is so extremely exciting because usually the carrots become a horrible weedy mess and we might lose them to those pesky weeds. Or, the soil dries up too quickly and we're not on top of our watering. Or, Farmer Mike just says, "Who cares!?" But WE care! Don't we!?
Anyway, enough with the excitement.
There are many ways to prepare carrots - roast, raw, or blanched. However, many might not know that the carrot tops, the frond-like green things sprouting from the top of the orange carrot, is edible, as well!
The best way to store your carrots is to remove the tops when you get home. Quickly rinse the orange carrots under cold water, place in a plastic bag or tupperware, and keep in your fridge. With the tops, rinse under cold water and shake to dry. The tops can be stored in a plastic bag with a paper towel in it for a couple of days, but really should be used ASAP.
To make a splendid creation with your carrot tops, think about the ways that you use other delicate green things - like spinach or basil.