What a great Fourth of July—love of country and fireworks. I hung our red, white, and blue from his holder on the split-rail fence between our Tomato Patch and a perennial bed. But for the big celebration, I’m at the age when the best view of the fireworks is right at home on television after watching PBS and the “Capitol Fourth” extravaganza on the National Mall.
But earlier in the day—before the heat and humidity wilted me—I stooped to pick three bowls of Tenderpod snap beans from a four-foot row in one of our small vegetable gardens.
Snap beans: You know what they are. That’s what the seed packet from Burpee calls them, though in its catalog they’re called “bush snap beans.” Ellen says that’s what my mother called “snap beans, and I’m sure she snapped tens of thousands of them to can and freeze over her long lifetime. In the freezer case at the grocery store they’re usually called “green beans.”
And when I was a kid, I think I called them “string beans,” I suppose that name died when plant breeders got rid of the strings. I thought then that “string beans” were green and “wax beans” yellow. Maybe the Seed Savers Exchange has a reasonable solution: “Beans.”
But in 2011 I generally call them “green beans.” Green they are, and beans they are, no question. And what a treat to pick a green bean and eat it raw—with its nutty fresh taste. I wouldn’t do that with a limp, discolored bean I typically find in a grocery-store bin.
And then, within an hour or two, I cooked a few handfuls—with just a sprinkle of salt—just five or six minutes at most, so they’re still beans, tender, yes, but not mushy.
Easy now. Put aside your fork and pick up a perfectly straight and cooked green bean by an end, put it into your mouth, and savor the flavor and texture.
Oh, my, that’s really celebrating the Fourth! Veggie fireworks!
But other days, let’s just say, “Grow It Eat It.”