... we WILL eat vegetables this Winter.
As anyone who has tried to grow fruit or veg this summer in the UK or this part of France will know only too well, 2012 has been a challenging year to say the least. Many growers gave up altogether where-as others, like myself, who were wet but not flooded, struggled on. The result was some spectacular failures but some things, amazingly, have done very well. On the failure list I can count strawberries, much of the tree fruit, carrots, swedes, turnips, kohl rabi, cabbages and nearly all other brassicas, but on the success side, after a poor year in 2011, I can add BEANS. Broad, Runner and French have all been brilliant. We are eating them almost every day and the freezers are groaning under their ever increasing weight. We WILL have veg to eat over the coming months!
So why have they done so well? To be honest the story could so easily have been different as it took several sowings to get both the French and Runners to even germinate. Early polytunnel sowings did not show at all and as the damp, drizzle and downpours that was Spring turned into more of the same in Summer, outdoor sowings were also a non-starter. Undeterred and rather late, I put in two final rows, not holding out much hope but I had the seeds so I had nothing to lose. I also sowed some in the polytunnel thinking that if the main crop outside failed yet again, I might be luckier in there.
|Some of today's bean harvest|
It is true frozen beans, not least Runners, are never as good from the freezer as fresh beans, but with fewer Winter crops to see us through, they will be most welcome. A friend also gave me this cooking trick that works especially well with Runners:
Boil both the pan of water for the beans and extra in a kettle. Once the water boils, add the frozen beans then drain straight away before returning to the pan with the kettle boiled water. Cook until your desired level of "crunchy-sogginess". You'll still know they aren't fresh but they will taste far better cooked this way.