Sunday, April 09, 2006

Green Beans etc

Right at this time of year, I have green beans (I only grow climbing ones), but not a lot, from my second planting. I generally want to preserve some - my favourite mix is green beans, carrot, cauliflower and capsicum, brined and then into vinegar - see picture.


The problem is I never have enough for a big batch, so then I remembered how they were done when I was a child. They were just picked daily, as they mature quickly, and thrown into a stone crock with salt, and brined. They kept for months - they were just thoroughly rinsed and cooked as per normal.

So I have been picking beans, throwing them into abig glass (ie inert) bottle with salt (I haven't got to the stone crocks yet, although I still have them). When I get enough I then add the other three veggies, and brine the lot overnight and then bottle in spiced vinegar the next day.

Why this comes to mind at the minute, is yesterday I had a magic moment. We have been though a long and difficult medical process with my mother over the past two years, and at the same time a former workmate has had an identical series of appointments, and we kept meeting in towns many hours drive from home with out mothers. Mary's mother is Macedonian.

Yesterday was the last appointment, and we added a very feisty elderly German woman and her daughter to the mix, as we all waited for appointments running an hour and a half late. Mary's Mum was a very avid veggie gardener and put a lot of sauce and preserves down. And so did the German lady and her daughter. So there we were, discussing methods in all countries, swapping recipes (although Mary's Mum and I started this a few appointments ago) and engaging in general hilarity.

The long-term brineing of green beans was common in Germany, not heard of in Macedonia. So I asked my mother where she got it from, as it doesn't seem to be something common. "Did you learn it from your Mother?". "No - your father taught me it".

Conversation just kept getting louder and louder in the waiting room, everyone was throwing in recipes and tips, and it was almost a disappointment when we got our time with the specialist.

Has anyone else struck long-term bringing of green beans as a way of preserving them? Curious minds want to know.

And if anyone wants details of exactly how these veggies are bottled - drop me a line.

Catching up again

I have heaps of catching up to do - the Wanderers have hatched and flown while I wasn't watching, we have eaten our last tomatoes, and still have cucumbers and beans. Capsicums were a failure this year. Maybe they wanted watering.

But my big news is that I got to the Garden Show in Melbourne, for a couple of hours, and had a lovely walk around in the rain and wind.

And bought myself three Hellebores - I love Hellebores. And now that I have found a webpage for Post Office Farm Nursery at Woodend, I may be impoverished for ever. If you have a look at this page, I got the blackish, the plum-purple and the white.

The Garden Show was interesting - I haven't been for years. Lots and lots of places selling the same bulbs (only one had anything resembling a white daffodil or blue ixia, and do you think now I can remember which it was), and not a packet of seeds to be seen. Lots of trendy stonework stuff and things like that.

But speaking of white daffodils - look what I found yesterday in Go-Lo. Not pure white, but very nice. And the price, being Go-Lo, was also very nice - $2.99 for 3.5 bulbs. I just hope they grow.

White Daff