I can’t believe we are more than halfway through July! The summer is really flying by, especially with the gardens keeping us busy. The plants are not slowing down anytime soon, and neither are we!
Take a look at what’s new in the garden! You can see the first peppers growing, both sweet banana peppers and bell peppers, as well as tomatillos and lots of herbs. Red, juicy raspberries and fun little pumpkins are forming, both of which the students will surely enjoy in the fall. The string beans are also starting to form and will likely be ready to harvest next week!
We have regular, green string beans, as well as purple string beans planted in the garden. Both are the bush variety, as opposed to the pole variety that grow as a vine. String beans get their name from the long, fibrous string that runs along the length of the pod, although this has been bred out of many varieties. Interestingly, purple string beans typically lose their color during cooking because heat breaks down the anthocyanins, which are the compounds that give the string beans a purple color. But, don’t worry, because they still have plenty of nutritious compounds in them, despite losing their color. String beans are a great source of starch and fiber. Because of this, string beans are not broken down right away by your digestive system, which allows nutrients to be continually absorbed throughout your intestinal tract. Specifically, string beans contain vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, carotenoids, and other antioxidants. Vitamin C and the other antioxidants help to stabilize free radicals, which reduces oxidative damage. This can aid in fighting disease, like cancer, in the body. String beans are also anti-carcinogenic due to resistant starch and dietary fiber. Because string beans are a low glycemic food, they are also a great vegetable option for diabetics. Lastly, the vitamin K in string beans is important for heart and bone health, while the vitamin A is necessary to support vision, immune, and reproductive health.
String beans add a fresh crispiness to any dish. They can be blanched, sautéed, steamed, or roasted. String beans are a delicious side dish on their own and can also be added to salads, stir fry, casseroles, pasta, and much more! Check out this green bean potato salad – perfect for summer nights.
Green Bean Potato Salad
- 8 ounces green beans (chopped into 2-inch pieces)
- 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes (cubed)
- 1/2 red onion (small, thinly sliced vertically)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano (chopped)
- pinch ground red pepper
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup halved kalamata olives
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Lemon slices (for garnish)
- Place thinly sliced red onion in a large bowl.
- Prepare an ice bath. Bring a small pot of salted water. Cook the green beans for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until bright green. Drain and transfer to the ice bath. Pat dry with paper towels and set aside.
- Place potatoes in a small pot with salt and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes until easily pierced with a knife.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, garlic, oregano, ground red pepper, and salt to taste in a small bowl.
- Drain the potatoes, add to bowl with onions, drizzle with 1/4 cup vinaigrette, and let cool to room temperature.
- Add the green beans, olives, feta cheese, and toss with more dressing as desired. Garnish with lemon slices.
Adapted from: From a Chef’s Kitchen Blog (https://www.fromachefskitchen.com/potato-green-bean-salad-olives-feta-cheese/)
As we move deeper into summer, more and more vegetables are ripening and becoming ready to harvest. In order to make sure that you can enjoy your delicious produce for many weeks and not just one, you want to make sure to lengthen your harvests out as much as possible. Here are some tips for extending your harvests, which will hopefully give you a bountiful garden this summer and fall!
If you want to help me tackle the weeds and help me with other tasks to care for the garden this summer, please sign up via the link below! We have two shifts per week on Mondays and Thursdays from 9am-11am. I would love to see you there!
Have a great day!