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Grandma Helen and the best green beans ever: the recipe

My Grandma Helen died three years ago this green bean season. Funny thing to say, I know. But green beans have come to mean Grandma Helen to me.

She taught me all I know about green beans. As the kids and I were picking beans yesterday and then snapping them it was like she was right there with us again.

I could see her in her yellow cotton top perched on top of an upside-down bucket picking like she wasn’t in her seventies. Makes me ache and smile at the same time.

She was perfectly imperfect. And I miss her dearly. 10389229_801457213228362_2160530102545469810_n

Time and death are two great distillers. Being in the moment is sometimes cloudy, perspective-wise. It’s easy to get bogged down with emotions and busyness and whatever it is that makes life life. But then death comes. Death and time always come. And they take all that stuff that is wrapped up in the cloudiness of life and distill it into memories: good and bad. And those memories rain down like pop-up thundershowers. Sporadic. Sometimes light. Sometimes a downpour. Sometimes it’s rainbows and sunshine after. Other times you’re just left sticky, wet and uncomfortable.

That’s the best way I can describe how I feel about my grandma. During green bean season she is alive to me. Those memories rain down into my life and I’m left feeling grateful for all that she invested in me and my kids.

In honor of her, I’m sharing her “recipe” for the BEST fresh green beans ever. Even though I make them exactly like she taught me they don’t taste like hers, but they are still great. If you get a mess of fresh-from-the-garden green beans give this recipe a whirl.

Greenbeans adjusted

Melt a good amount of bacon grease in a dish that has a lid.

green beans - grease_157

Fry the beans on medium heat until they look a little cooked. Don’t rush this process. When I do a potful it takes at least an hour, sometimes more. After you pour them into the grease, stir thoroughly so the grease coats them all evenly. Keep stirring every once in a while. green beans - started_7green beans - 3_18green beans - done_58

The picture above is how they’re supposed to look when they’re ready for the lid. Add a TINY bit of water to loosen the beans. When that comes to a boil, lower the temp and cover the pot.

Cook on low for several hours. Add a little more water if needed.




Categories: Food and gardening on the farm

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My name is Ginia Oehlschlager and I'm a small-town gal from Missouri. Join me as I document my crazy life on the farm with my husband and four kids. I'm always looking for frugal, simple ways to live the life God set before me. Where faith, family and fun come together on the farm.

4 replies

  1. Hmmm….your grandmother made her green beans the same way mine did…EXCEPT, we do not add water…we EAT them at that point and they are wonderful….no cooking for additional hours or even minutes! Stirring often during the “frying” stage is necessary, and if I am in a hurry, I add a lid early on. My green beans are about 2″ long, and I’m getting excited!

  2. Yummy!! This is how my Mom made them and now I do. They melt in your mouth! Thanks for sharing your precious story.

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