Green Beans with Bacon

Green Beans with Bacon

There is nothing better than garden fresh green beans!

Even when my parents abandoned their garden beds for ten years, they still had their green bean “tee-pees” every summer.

Fresh Green Beans from the Garden

My father is rather picky about his green beans. They must snap and break when you bend them, not wiggle around like a rubber band. That’s how you know they’re fresh.

I have a couple rows of green beans this year, planted from seed right after I pulled out the fava beans and spring peas. (BTW, if you grow green beans from seed, it helps to soak the beans over night in water before planting them, or place them between two layers of wet paper towels for a couple of days, so they germinate first.)

They like heat, and at least in our part of the world, come into their own in August and September. When I left for vacation the plants were only a foot high, two weeks later they are climbing over the fence.

So far I’ve pulled off a total of one mighty green bean, but my parents got started on their bean teepee a few weeks before I did, so their beans are now ripe for picking.

A garden of green beans ready to harvest

A garden of green beans ready to harvest

The Trick to Cooking Green Beans

Zucchini can sometimes wear me out if I have to eat it every. single. day. But green beans? I can eat a pound all on my own (as Hank can attest, as I ate almost the whole batch of these) and never get tired of them.

Here’s the trick with green beans. Usually we boil them, but if you boil them for longer than 7 minutes, they’ll turn a brownish olive color. It’s just a chemical reality. Tough old beans will take longer than 7 minutes to cook to tenderness, so no matter what you do, they’ll be off color by the time you eat them.

Fresh, young beans though? They should cook quickly enough so they’ll still have that vibrant green color when cooked. Look for beans that easily snap in half when you bend them.

Side shot of fresh green beans, blanched and sauteed with bacon on a plate

Side shot of fresh green beans, blanched and sauteed with bacon on a plate

Bacon Makes Green Beans Even Better

This recipe is a simple preparation in which the beans are first boiled, then sautéed very quickly in bacon fat, then tossed with chopped bacon and sprinkled with black pepper. Easy and absolutely delicious.

At the very end you sprinkle on some vinegar or lemon juice. Acid is another thing that will turn green beans from green to brown, so add the vinegar just before serving.

What to Serve with Green Beans

These green beans make an excellent side dish for practically everything — roasted or grilled chicken, pork chops, fish, steak, you name it. For a starch, serve alongside roasted new potatoes or mashed potatoes.

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Updated March 23, 2020 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle. No changes to the original recipe.