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Sonoma County Gazette
Green beans

Green Beans ~ An American Tradition

Oct 29, 2018


Maybe it's my Southern heritage that leads me to green beans. I have found that these long slender beans are one of my favorite vegetables to find at the farmers' market. It's also a standard on my Thanksgiving feast menu when I am in charge of cooking. My perfect snack is a simple recipe of blanched green beans then slightly sautéed with sea salt. Fresh and crisp are the way I prefer them. 

Ironically, my mom always made green beans from a can when I was young and cooked them to oblivion, flavoring them with ham hocks while they cooked for hours. It was not a favorite for me as a youngster. Mushy green beans are the worst in my book. You think this would have turned me off to green beans forever, but it actually made me appreciate the crunchy texture of green beans cooked to perfection. 

The history of green beans goes pretty far back in history. They have been around for thousands of years, since 5000 BC to exact, originating in Central and South America.  They were introduced to Europe by the Italian explorers in the 1400's. By the 17th century green beans were being cultivated all around Italy, Greece and Turkey. 

Green beans used to be known by the name string bean because it had a long fibrous thread along the seam. The string has been cultivated out of the bean since 1896 when Calvin Keeney developed the first stringless bean. That's something we can all be thankful for in this modern time when we all so busy. Can you imagine stringing beans before cooking them? 

My Mom's Kentucky Green Beans Updated For My California Taste 


  • 1 1/2 to 2 Pounds Green Beans, washed and ends trimmed 
  • 6 slices of raw bacon chopped
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup of walnut pieces 


  1. Place chopped bacon into a frying pan and cook until crispy
  2. Remove bacon and set aside on a plate lined with paper towel
  3. Discard all but 1 tablespoon (approximately) bacon drippings 
  4. Turn heat to medium
  5. Add Green Beans to pan and cook until they are lightly browned, stirring occasionally (about 6-8 minutes)
  6. Add in walnut pieces in the last 2 minutes of cooking the green beans 
  7. Remove from heat, squeeze lemon wedge over beans, toss with bacon and cover
  8. Let sit 5 minutes and serve hot



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