Saturday, June 29, 2013

Southern-Style Purple Beans with Bacon Ends

purple string beans
I'd never seen or heard of "purple" beans until I found them in my CSA produce box. According to the flyer that came from the farm, they're merely a purple version of ordinary green beans (string beans), and they naturally turn green as they cook. That latter bit did not surprise me, as I had received some purple okra from a friend last summer and it, too, turned green during cooking.

The following should hardly be called a recipe because I simply threw it together using ingredients I had on hand -- in other words, it's "throw cooking," which refers to a cooking method or philosophy, usually based on traditional Southern or country cooking.

If you don't have bacon ends, you could certainly substitute chopped thick-cut bacon, fatback, or even chopped country ham (if the latter, you probably will need additional fat for sauteing). Likewise, the quantities reflect what I had available; you can adjust them to suit your needs and amounts on hand.

bacon ends onion garlic
2 lbs purple beans (or green beans or string beans), washed & ends snapped off
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used green garlic, which is stronger)
Half of a small onion, chopped
4 to 6 oz. bacon ends (or equivalent bacon or fatback)
Salt & pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (leave enough room for the beans to fit without sloshing water out), then plunge in the beans and bring back to a boil. If you're using purple beans, they'll soon turn green. Let the beans boil for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes depending on how crisp/tender you like them, then drain into a large colander and immediately rinse with cold water until cool to the touch (this will stop the cooking process and brighten the green color).

Southern style string beans
Brown the bacon ends in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic & onion and saute until light golden (the pork will finish cooking during this time). Add the drained beans, season with salt & pepper to taste, stir and cook until heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes. That's it!

Zestfully yours,

PS:  If you like spicing up your string beans, a nice vinegar pepper sauce like Texas Pete Hot Sauce (which is actually a North Carolina hot sauce despite the name), or Tabasco Sauce will add Southern style tangy heat.


  1. G'day! I've never seen purple beans, true!
    Thank you as I always enjoy learning something new!
    Cheers! Joanne

    1. Howdy Joanne! Aren't they pretty when they're purple? I wish they'd have stayed that way instead of turning green when cooked, like the purple okra did as well. Have you ever seen purple bell peppers? I've bought those in the past hoping they'd stay purple but they also turned boring green after cooking. I guess only purple fruit and eggplant skil keep their color (can't think of any other purple produce!)
      Thanks for your comment, and have a zesty day!