Every year, I try to grow something new and unusual (to me) in our gardens. This summer, we're growing Brussels sprouts, red okra, pole beans, garlic, round carrots and purple beans. The garlic is nearly ready to be pulled, but it's the purple beans that win the prize for being the first harvested of the newbies.
When I looked through the seed catalogs this winter, these purple beans fascinated me. They were supposed to taste like regular green beans, except that they were purple. And they do a magical thing when you cook them - they turn green.
The plants themselves are beautiful. The foliage is a deep green with tinges of purple on the edges and be it luck or some other unknown reason, the normal insects haven't been nibbling away on the leaves like they do when we grow green bush beans.
I started picking them a couple of weeks ago and by this week, we have had a mess of beans. We've had enough to share with our next-door neighbors and a couple of other people. These are heavy producers because we don't have that many bean plants.
The thing about purple beans is that they are supposed to taste just as good when picked late as they do when they're picked early. After a couple taste tests, I would have to say they do indeed. I prefer them younger, but sometimes I don't get out there and pick them on time and they get big. With green beans, it's easy to miss some, but the purple ones show up better and are less likely to be missed.
We're growing Fortex pole beans for the first time this year, too. I just picked the first ones last night, but we don't have enough yet for a meal, so I don't yet know how the flavor compares to others. These came highly recommended from a couple of sources, including The Victory Garden.
They must be good, because these are Japanese Beetle magnets, to the point that they're forgoing the roses for the bean leaves! At least they're leaving the beans themselves alone.
Fortex beans are very long and very slender, and look like the ones you see in high-class restaurants. One of the ones I picked measures nine inches long.
I love fresh green beans. Like sweet corn, I've been known to make a meal of beans alone. I'll never forget what a friend said many years ago - "You can eat ten pounds of green beans for about 25 calories." LOL. Not quite, but they are low in calories if you can manage to eat them without butter.
Time to go pick the beans for today. The more you pick, the more you get!