|BEANS, MISSOURI WONDER
by Joshua Heston
According to Baker Creek Seeds, the Missouri Wonder bean was introduced early in the 1930s.
Dried, the beans look like pintos. The pods retain a good flavor even under stress, and the bean is defined as an old-time cornfield type.
They were often grown in corn fields, with the corn stalks acting as bean poles. Maturity is 70 days.
This green bean is hard to find. Interestingly enough, it was my Grandma Myrtles favorite type.
Sometime after World War II, however, it became impossible to find in Southern Iowa. If you can find Missouri Wonder, Donny, she would tell my mom, Get em. There good
The Kentucky Wonder variety seemed to be everywhere at that point. But Missouri Wonder could never be found. Until recently. My mom grew these Missouri Wonder beans in her Illinois garden this summer. She got the seed from the Ozark-based Baker Creek Seed Company.
My grandmothers regard for this variety was well-deserved.
Prolific, with good flavor and a lack of beany woodiness that tends to characterize late-season green beans, Missouri Wonder is mighty fine all around. Grow some on bean poles, a trellis, or even amongst the corn next year.
Pick them when theyre big and ready, snap them, and let them simmer in a big kettle along with a generous helping of bacon, some salt, pepper and butter. Serve hot on home-made bread.
Theres nothing that tastes more like the middle of summer in these Ozark hills.
Freezing green beans
Since the advent of the deep freeze, freezing vegetables has worked out pretty well. But you have to know how, otherwise frozen green beans may end up with the personality of old rubber.
Heres how you do it right:
Snap a mess of green beans. Bring a big kettle of water to a steady boil. Scald the beans for no more than 3 minutes (2 minutes if the beans are young and tender).
Remove the beans quickly and cool down by pouring cold water on them. You must stop the cooking process instantly (pretend youre boiling shrimp and youll do it right).
Then, dry the scalded beans. The easiest way is to spread them out on towels before a big fan. One of my favorite childhood memories is the smell of green beans drying in front of the big house fan.
After the beans are well dried, bag them up in zip-locks and place in the freezer.
|Missouri Wonder, State of the Ozarks Archive © 2009|
Missouri Wonder Green Beans Photo credit, J. Heston.SOTO © Archive. 8/24/09 & 8/31/09