Pregnancy and Parenting Features

Around the House - In The Kitchen - Bushels of Beans
Bushels of Beans
By Amanda Formaro - The Family Corner

As fall approaches, so does harvest time. Your green beans are just about ready, but what to do with the bushels you'll bring inside? Canning is one option, as is drying, freezing, and of course, eating!

Harvesting
Look for young, tender, long, sleek pods with beans just starting to bulge sides. Test by breaking in half; beans that will taste best snap with a pop, show no or few fibers. Aging pods turn yellow, leathery, stringy, streaked, with mealy beans inside.

Canning
Sort and snip or string, if necessary. Leave whole or cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces.

To pack hot, precut whole or cut beans in boiling water until pliable (2 to 5 minutes). Pack hot into jars, standing the whole beans on ends or packing cut beans up to jar shoulder. Add salt (1/2 teaspoon for pint jars, 1 teaspoon for quarts). Cover beans in each jar with boiling water or cooking liquid, leaving 1/2 to 3/4 inch head space. Seal.

To pack raw, use pieces cut no larger than 1 inch. Pack tightly into jars up to jar shoulders. Add salt and boiling liquid as directed for hot pack.

Drying
Use only tender, stringless varieties for drying. wash thoroughly, cut in short pieces or lengthwise. To blanch, steam 5 minutes. Water 4 1/2 minutes. Test for dryness -- should be brittle.

Freezing
Wash and snap off ends. Cut in 1 inch pieces, or cut lengthwise. Blanch 2 to 3 minutes. Chill. Pack in plastic freezer bags.

Recipes
If you choose to keep some of your fresh bean harvest, cook up one or more of these great recipe finds.

BREAKFAST

Baked Egg Scramble
6 large eggs
1/2 cup evaporated milk -- or cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 large tomatoes -- diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon fresh dill -- finely chopped
1 cup grated cheddar cheese -- plus 2 tablespoons, divided

Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly grease quiche dish or shallow baking dish. In large bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, salt, and pepper. Stir in green pepper, tomatoes, basil, and dill. Sprinkle 1 cup cheese over bottom of prepared dish. Pour egg mixture over cheese. Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for 5 minutes, or until cheese melts and a knife inserted in center comes out clean.


APPETIZERS

Cucumber Dill Dip
1 medium cucumber
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped OR 2 tsp dried dill, crushed
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced

Peel, seed and finely dice the cucumber. Using a colander, squeeze out any excess water from the cucumber chunks. Place in a bowl and blend will with the pepper and dill. Blend in the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cover and chill. Makes about 3 cups of dip.

Dipper suggestions: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Radishes, Carrots, Onion Crackers

Dill Snack Crackers
1 package ranch dressing dry mix
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon dill
1 box oyster crackers

Stir together all ingredients except crackers. Add crackers, mix well and bake at 200 degrees for 2 hours.


SALADS

Creamy Dill Dressing
This creamy dressing has no added oil. It's made with silken tofu.

1- 10.5 oz. pkg, firm silken tofu
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder or granules
1/2 tsp. dill weed
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. water
1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until completely smooth. Store any extra dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Potato Salad
2 lb red potatoes, boiled and quartered
2 each eggs, hard boiled and chopped
1 each green pepper, diced
1 each onion small, chopped
1/2 cup salad oil
1/3 cup wine vinegar
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp salt
1 dash pepper

Combine potatoes, eggs, green pepper and onion. Mix remaining ingredients in a small jar and shake well. Pour over potato mixture. Refrigerate several hours.

Layered Ham & Macaroni Salad

SALAD:
1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked, diced ham
1 cup shell macaroni, cooked & cooled
4 cups shredded lettuce
1small red onion
3 eggs
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

DRESSING:
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp salt

Layer salad ingredients - let stand overnight in refrigerator. Mix dressing ingredients - let stand overnight in refrigerator. Mix both together right before serving.


SIDES

Dilly Green Beans
4 cups fresh cut green beans
-OR-
2- 10 oz. pkg. frozen cut green beans

2 tbsp chopped onion
1/4 tsp dill weed
1/2 lb Velveeta cheese spread, cubed
1/4 cup croutons

Heat oven to 350F. Cook beans with onion & dill weed; drain. Add Velveeta; mix lightly. Place in 1 quart casserole; top with croutons. Bake at 350F, 12-15 minutes.

Serves 6-8

Dill Butter
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried dill weed
1/4 tsp pepper

In a small bowl with wooden spoon, beat all ingredients until well blended.

Dilly Cheese Sauce
1/2 lb. Velveeta, cubed
1/2 cup salad dressing
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp. dill weed

Heat Velveeta, salad dressing, & milk over low heat until sauce is smooth, stirring constantly. Add dill.

Makes 1 1/2 cups


MAIN DISH

Poached Salmon & Cucumber Sauce

SAUCE:
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped

FISH:
1 cup water
1 tsp chicken bouillon or 1 bouillon cube
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 small onion, white or yellow, sliced in rings
1 bay leaf
1 parsley sprig, chopped
1/2 tsp dill weed or one fresh sprig
pinch freshly ground pepper
2 small salmon steaks or fillets, about 3/4" thick

Combine sauce ingredients and refrigerate. (I often add a little prepared Ranch salad dressing to taste for extra flavor.) Heat water to boiling in large skillet (10-12"). Add bouillon, dissolve. Add remaining ingredients, except salmon, bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer 5 minutes. Add salmon, cover and simmer 6-8 minutes, or until fish is cooked through. Lift fish out, drain, and place on serving plates. Lift onions out, drain and lay over fish. Serve immediately with chilled cucumber sauce.

Serves 2.

Dilly Meatloaf
2 lb. ground beef
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup chipped onion
1/3 cup chopped dill pickle
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Velveeta Sauce (see below)

Heat oven to 350F. Combine ingredients; mix lightly. Shape into loaf in shallow baking dish. Bake at 350F, 1 hour & 10 minutes. Serve with Velveeta Sauce.

VELVEETA SAUCE
1/2 lb. Velveeta cheese spread, cubed
1/4 cup milk

Heat Velveeta with milk over low heat; stir until sauce is smooth.

Serves 8

Herb Shrimp
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/2 stick of butter (the real thing)
3 cloves of garlic, minced or smushed
1 pint of half & half cream
2 sprigs of dill, chopped
white pepper
1 large bunch of curly parsley, chopped
1 pkg. of Angel Hair pasta

Melt butter in large skillet or wok. Add garlic & shrimp. Cook just until shrimp begin to turn pink. Remove shrimp from pan with slotted spoon. Pour half & half into pan, add dill & bring to a gentle simmer. Cook about 5 minutes (sauce should thicken in this time), return shrimp to sauce, season with white pepper, and add parsley. Just heat shrimp through. Meanwhile cook pasta according to package directions. Divide pasta onto 3 plates and top with shrimp mixture.

Serves 2


OTHER

Dill Pickles
Clean cucumbers. Prick with fork

JUICE MIXTURE:
Boil 1/4 cup of salt
2 cups of vinegar
6 cups of water

PER JAR, ADD:
1 clove of garlic
1/4 tsp chilies
clump of dill

Pack in pickles, add juice mixture. Tighten lid, 1/4 turn back to allow steam to escape. Boil bottles for 8 minutes then tighten lids back up.

Fresh Dill Vinegar
8 sprigs fresh dill
4 cups (1 quart) white vinegar

Wash dill and dip in solution of 1-teaspoon household beach in 6 cups of water. Rinse thoroughly under cool running water. Place dill in sterilized quart jar. Heat vinegar to just below boiling point (190F); pour over dill. Cap tightly and allow to stand in cool, dark place for three to four weeks. Strain vinegar, discarding dill. Pour vinegar into clean sterilized bottles with tight fitting covers. Add a fresh sprig of cleaned and sanitized dill. Store in the refrigerator.


MORE DILL-LICIOUS RESOURCES:

Amanda Formaro is the entrepreneurial mother of four children. She and her husband live in southern Nevada. She is also the owner of FamilyCorner.com Magazine at http://familycorner.com.



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