Appalachia Appalachian Food Gardening

Preserving Green Beans with Salt

Back in December, Don Casada was in England working when he met Jeanne Page. They got to talking about gardening and Jeanne shared the most interesting way of preserving green beans. Don got her and I in touch with each other and Jeanne was gracious enough to write a guest post for me-and for you-detailing the manner in which her family preserves green beans.

Spring - time to get planting garden allotment in uk

 

Photos by Jeanne Page

I had a great conversation with Don just before he left the UK about gardening. I was explaining that we had an “allotment”, a term he wasn’t familiar with. I explained that this was a site provided by the local council and carved up into “plots” which you can rent. I am Secretary of our self-managed 100 plot strong site and am kept very busy with committee meetings, organising social events, etc.

The polytunnel is bulging with stuff (480x640) gardening in England

 

My husband and I run a plot around 180 foot by 30 on which we grow just about everything including sweetcorn which Don was quite surprised at! We also have a large polytunnel where we can grow things from seed to bring them on quickly as we have a relatively short growing season here in the UK.

I am Secretary of our self-managed 100 plot strong site and am kept busy with committee meetings, organising social events, editing a Newsletter and endless other tasks as well as still working full time (way past retirement I might add!).

Anyway onto the beans! As I explained to Don, I was born in Belgium in 1950 and my Mother was brought up in a small village near the border of Holland. Like all village people, my Mother’s family and way before that I guess, were almost self-sufficient and with no freezers in those days, my Mum learnt the ways of preserving foodstuffs and one of the preserving methods she brought to England was for runner beans (I think you call them climbing beans?).

Items required for “salting” beans – a large glass or plastic sweetie jar (not sure if you have such a thing in US) but any large screw top container would do but you need one with a big enough opening to get your hand in comfortably.

Basically the beans are picked fresh, washed, dried and then diagonally sliced. Put about four big handfuls of beans in the bottom of the jar and then sprinkle a good handful or more of salt on top. (Mom used to use brick salt but you can’t get that anymore so I just use cooking salt). Give the container a good shake to make sure all the beans have a good coating of salt. Screw the top on tightly. You will find after a few days the natural water in the beans will dissolve the salt and the beans will start to sink into the salty water. When more beans are ready, repeat the process until the jar is full, giving the beans a good press down each time.

Preserving green beans with salt

 

My jars are usually full by the end of September and I leave them then for a few weeks whilst there is still plenty of other vegetables to be eaten from the allotment. Around December time, we start on our “salted” beans. Simply take out however many handfuls you want for a meal and rinse well. Put them in a saucepan covered with cold water overnight. The next day, drain and top with fresh water. Cook as normal until tender. You will find the flavour is far superior to frozen beans.

To serve, we also sautee a couple of handfuls of finely chopped onion just until they are opaque and then toss the beans in and add a shake of white pepper to finish.

A whole jar of beans usually lasts us until well into Spring the following year.

—————————

Preserving beans with salt

 

I’m so excited over Jeanne’s process of preserving green beans! I could hardly wait to try it myself-I’ve been dreaming about it since she first shared her method with me back in December.

I didn’t have a jar like hers, but I figured a large mouth canning jar should work just as well. I’ll let you know how the process goes. I know Don is trying the method too-and he’s using a ziploc bag. I’m positive he’ll keep us updated on his results as well.

So very neat to learn a new method of preserving from a different culture. Thanks Jeanne!!

Tipper

 

You Might Also Like

30 Comments

  • Reply
    Tipper
    September 27, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Evie-the lady who wrote the post said she left the beans in the jar and didn’t refrigerate them. I tried her method twice and both times my beans went bad so I’m not sure what I did wrong.

  • Reply
    evie moore
    September 26, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    after the beans have been salted in the jars, do they need to be in a refrigerator?

  • Reply
    Sandra Clayton
    July 18, 2015 at 4:59 am

    This sounds like the directions my mama-in-law gave me years ago, as a new bride. I put the beans in quart canning jars…just rinsed them well before cooking. No salty taste. Tasted fresh from the garden.

  • Reply
    Tipper
    July 14, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    RB-thank you for the great comments! I have never heard of corduroy beans but now I want too : )
    Tipper
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    July 13, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Wow! So interesting, and I’m surprised none of our grannies ever talked about doing this, even the one from Central Europe. I wonder if they even knew about the process. I’ve heard of corduroy beans though I’ve never tried it, and I’ve never anything like this. Any of you ever heard of corduroy beans? Will be good to know how it turned out for you stateside in the end.
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    Tipper
    July 13, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Sheila-thank you for the comment! I was wondering about how it would work with other vegetables too-maybe we can find out!
    Hope you have a great week : )
    Tipper
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Tipper
    July 13, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Sallie-thank you for the comment! Safety is something we always need to think about for sure!
    Hope you have a great week!
    Tipper
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    Tipper
    July 13, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Ann-thank you for the comment! Leather Britchees are dried green beans. You can go here to read about them: https://blindpigandtheacorn.com/ever-eat-leather-britches/
    Hope you have a great week!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 13, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    We had an allotment when I was a child on Wiggins Creek. It was a tobacco allotment. We could only grow ½ acre. Someone came every year, after it was planted and was growing, to measure it. They measured the plot right down to the inch then sat down and figured how much was planted. If it was over ½ acre, we had to pull it up and destroy it. If it was less than ½ we couldn’t plant any more.
    I have a glass one gallon Mount Olive pickle jar that would be perfect for this green bean project but it is full of pennies I have collected for my grandsons. It don’t matter though. If we don’t soon get some rain here, I am going to be picking leather britches anyway. Everybody around here have gotten plenty of rain. Some too much. I have been watering with a hose enough to keep the plants alive.

  • Reply
    Tamela
    July 13, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    I too am wondering about the salt content of the beans when eaten – especially for those of us who must monitor our sodium intake.

  • Reply
    Quinn
    July 13, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    I hope I get beans enough to try this! I love a method that doesn’t require heating up or cooling down. Losing power for long enough to ruin a freezer full of hard-won food is one of my seasonal nightmares, because that is how I preserve almost everything lately.
    And I love it that Jeanne said the taste is far superior to frozen beans! My one concern was getting the brine sufficiently out, but now I just need to keep my eyes open for a big jar with a lid. And hope my several rows of pole beans finally get enough sun to flower. So much rain we’ve had! Wish we could share with the folks in drought areas.

  • Reply
    N Sky
    July 13, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    What great information. Using salt to preserve foods for the lean months has been done for centuries yet so few of us remember how to use such ancient ways. If recient reports about the Sun’s cycle taking us into years of reduced growing periods is true, information like this could be very important to us. Thanks for reminding me about salting..

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    July 13, 2015 at 8:28 am

    I’ve actually known and worked with Jeanne for several years. She’s a delightful lady who keeps the fellows at the British Pump Manufacturers Association in line and takes really good care of Susan and me when we visit. But it wasn’t until last year that I learned of her gardening interests.
    The beans we salted away were some early bush beans, and we followed Jeanne’s directions to the letter. We put them up on June 26, completely filling a 2.5 gallon bag.

    I’m keeping that bag under a counter in the kitchen, so it isn’t exposed to light, and removed all the air from the bag that I could (suck it out with a straw). Keeping oxygen away can’t hurt, which is one reason that I think the baggy method just might prove superior.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    July 13, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    I can’t have a garden where we live now but I am anxious to try this. Here in Florida there’s a long growing season. How well does it work for other vegies.

  • Reply
    Ken
    July 13, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Tipper,
    It’s always nice to see how well
    things are done in our “home”
    country. I love to hear the English folks talk.
    Since I had my fall and hurt my
    back, I was unable to tend to the
    garden this year. I use to have
    green beans galore, and I gave
    away about 9 bushels each year.
    Thank goodness I got a couple of
    boxes saved from last year that
    my girlfriend canned in Cleveland
    Tenn. We fix 3 bushels and half
    them, so our youngins can have
    real green beans.
    I miss B. Ruth, has anyone heard
    from her? …Ken

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    July 13, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Sallie Swor’s comment got me to doing a little research.
    Turns out my idea of limiting air may be a bad one. According to this source:
    http://pickyourown.org/botulism.htm
    botulism needs an anaerobic environment – which is just what I provided.
    Gulp.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    July 13, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Pole beans is what we called running beans. I plant bush beans now but groundhogs & constant rain have foiled us again this year. What plants we have are imbedded in weeds & grass. Guess I’ll buy some from the produce stand. We missed having home canned beans so much this year. I would like to try the salted bean technique. My leather britches experiment several yrs. ago didn’t work–I could never get the beans to cook to edible tenderness.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    July 13, 2015 at 9:26 am

    How interesting! Never heard of that before! And
    two fascinating new terms:
    sweetie jar (how lovely!) and
    leather britches, which I am guessing is a variety of green bean.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    July 13, 2015 at 9:10 am

    We haven’t started a garden, but since moving to western NC, we have discovered White Half-Runner Beans. These are the best green beans ever, in my opinion. They are not always available, but when they come in, we get them.

  • Reply
    Sallie R. Swor
    July 13, 2015 at 8:55 am

    I also love the ways of other cultures and don’t mean to be negative but growing up with the influence of UT Ag Extension Home Economists and their research backed up by USDA I’m very cautious about food preservation methods. Some of the old methods seem safe enough but some can be dangerous. New varieties, temperature of modern houses, etc. have changed recommendations. Renewed interest in gardening is popular and I would caution to check with the experts.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    July 13, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Tipper–Don had already shared this really interesting approach with me. I’m drying leather britches this year for the first time in a long time and will freeze some beans as well. The real problem though, and it is all Ken Roper’s fault, is that the Nantahala Runner beans he so graciously shared have proved so productive about six new ways of preserving are needed. I may even pickle some although I’m not overly fond of them done that way.
    The beans Ken passed on (and they are what Don is growing as well) would climb to the sky, I do believe, if you had long enough poles and a high enough ladder to harvest. Right now I’m at my wit’s end trying to give them away, prepare them new ways, and just keep up. All that, mind you, is with a single row maybe 40-50 feet long.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    dolores
    July 13, 2015 at 8:32 am

    That was very interesting. I am anxious to learn how the beans turn out. Isn’t using salt a method used to preserve meat eons ago? Perhaps, those living in the woods still use this method. Thanks for the education.

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    July 13, 2015 at 8:27 am

    I love learning new and better ways of food preservation. Growing up with family who knew the old ways, I have learned many ways to preserve food. Unfortunately some of the younger family members do not share this love.
    Recently my Grand daughter was nice enough to spend time with me helping organize and clean my house. That was indeed an experience for both of us. She came through with a slightly annoyed expression, clutching a handful of my leather britches and demanding, “Nana, what are these?” I think I may be able to keep a nice jar of those beans setting around when I explain it as a preservation method from a lady in England. Thanks so much Jeanne Paige–will have to try this.

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    July 13, 2015 at 7:53 am

    Very interesting! This is something I would like to try the next time I grow beans! Thank you for sharing.
    Pam
    scrap-n-sewgranny.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Mary Briggs
    July 13, 2015 at 7:46 am

    I am looking forward to trying this, as well! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 13, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Wow, Tipper, that is very interesting. Like you, I love hearing of cooking and preserving traditions from other countries.
    It seems that the beans are preserved by the salt but not fermented the way we do pickled brans or kraut. I suppose it is the air tight lid that makes the difference.
    I am anxious to hear the outcome.
    There is a English lady who brings pastry to the Saturday morning tailgate market I go to. I love talking to her. All her pastries recipes are from her home country so most of them are different from what you and I make, but just as good.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 13, 2015 at 7:14 am

    This is interesting. I wonder if the beans are salty or if the soaking draws out the salt. I will try this.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 13, 2015 at 7:14 am

    This is interesting. I wonder if the beans are salty or if the soaking draws out the salt. I will try this.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 13, 2015 at 7:14 am

    This is interesting. I wonder if the beans are salty or if the soaking draws out the salt. I will try this.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 13, 2015 at 7:14 am

    This is interesting. I wonder if the beans are salty or if the soaking draws out the salt. I will try this.

  • Leave a Reply