Whether you're a CSA devotee, a farmers' market weekender or consider ketchup a veg, we'll bring you fresh inspiration for how to prepare our local produce.
This week's harvest: Yardlong Beans
You might have seen these crazy long "green" or purple beans at the markets lately. They're also called red noodle beans, Chinese long beans, asparagus beans or long podded cowpeas. They are approximately a half-yard long and you might conjure up images of the Guiness World Record holder for longest fingernails or something you might find in a children's fantasy movie growing along the ground of a misty mossy forest. They're an other-worldly looking vegetable and they couldn't be easier to prepare.
When are yardlong beans in season?
June through October
Selecting, storage and preparation tips: Longbeans should be fairly firm (they'll have bend) but you don't want them limp and lifeless. Try to find them without much in the way of blemishes and take them home right away to get started on your recipes.
Store them in the fridge loosely covered in plastic bag and don't forget about them.
You might think that there's no way that you can fit those darned things into your pots but I have a great trick - cut them up. Don't think so hard about it. Keep them long if you can wrap them around your cookware or just chop them up as small as your heart desires. Presto! No more unwieldy noodle beans.
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Jennifer Woods is a local food advocate with over 10 years working in the AZ food industry, and currently works for Crooked Sky Farms, a CSA produce farm based in South Phoenix.