Beans for Stir-Fry

LoraxDave(z7B Alabama)February 19, 2005

I eat stir-fry veggies several times per week and am hoping to have a successful vegetable garden this year and freeze my own packs. I have never grown beans before, but from my web surfing, it seems like the best bet for me would be to grow Asian long beans?? Is this correct?? It looks like these are heat tolerant, always a plus here in Bama.

Which varieties are the best to grow?? I have seen packs of Asparagus Beans at some of our local big box stores - and I assume these are Long Beans.

Aside from the beans, I am hoping to add zucchini, squash, eggplant, and peppers (sweet and/or hot) to my vegetable mixes.

Is it true that all of these need to be blanched before freezing?? I guess I am getting ahead of myself - I probably actually need a decent harvest before I concern myself with long-term storage.

I work with a lot of Chinese people, and I may ask them what vegetables they are growing for stir-frys. A few years ago, one of my co-workers gave me seed for Winter Melon. I don't know whether that is used in stir-frys. My co-workers said they mostly used them for soups. We actually didn't like the Winter Melon and thought they were pretty tasteless (like a watermelon rind). So I brought the rest of my harvest to work - my co-workers could not believe that I was giving away Winter Melon!

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breezyb(z6/7VA)

I also cook veggie stirfries once or more per week. I don't bother with the long beans - just grow a colorful variety of regular snap beans - purple, yellow wax, & the thin haricot verts type. Eggplant & hot peppers as well, of course.

That said - my suggestion to you would be to also grow some Asian greens. Although many are technically cool-weather crops, you can not only usually get a nice spring crop before things heat up, but many of them are VERY frost tolerant, especially with a row cover over them, allowing you to harvest well into the winter.

My personal favorites are the baby bok choys, tatsois, & my all-time favorite - Mizuna. I like Mizuna for it's versatility - you can add it to wraps & sandwiches, salads, & it is scrumptious in a stirfry.

Most seed companies these days have a section for "Asian Greens", & in fact, there is one company that sells nothing BUT Asian vegetables & greens. Their website is:

http://www.kitazawaseed.com/index.html

Enjoy!!!!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2005 at 11:36AM
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LoraxDave(z7B Alabama)

Thanks! The Asian Vegetable seed catalogues are very interesting. Lots of things that are tempting to try. I imagine a lot of these would do really well in our hot/humid Summers, which are similar to the steamy weather in some parts of East and Southeast Asia.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2005 at 9:10AM
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breezyb(z6/7VA)

Forgot to answer your question re: freezing.

Squash - I frankly don't bother since they're available year-round in the supermarket & I feel that once defrosted the texture is miserable. Just enjoy them while you have them in the garden.

Eggplant - Doesn't freeze well raw or blanched. Gets mushy, dark grey, & gruesome looking. However - if you dry the slices or cook it in a dish first (eggplant sandwiches, lasagna, parmagian, etc.), it freezes just fine.

Beans - Blanch in boiling water for just a minute or 2, drain well. You can then just pack in plastic bags, excluding as much air as humanly possible, pack in vacuum-seal bags, or spread on a tray to freeze individually & then pack in bags - again, remove as much air as possible.

As for peppers - sweet peppers I usually wash, core, seed, & dice or cut into strips, dry well, pack into plastic bags & freeze. No blanching. Hot peppers I just wash & dry well & freeze whole in plastic bags. Frozen peppers won't thaw out crisp, but work perfectly fine in cooked dishes, sauces, salsas, & stirfries for flavoring. It's also incredibly easy to slice & seed the hot peppers in their semi-frozen state.

Hope this helps you.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2005 at 9:43AM
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LoraxDave(z7B Alabama)

Thanks, that is helpful!

I buy stir-fry vegetable mixes from Wal-Mart that contain squash and zucchini, and they seem okay to me. Not nearly as good as fresh, but frozen and already cut up tends to be very practical for me. That's why I was thinking about making my own pre-cut concoctions for freezing, assuming my garden is productive.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2005 at 10:43AM
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breezyb(z6/7VA)

I'd try freezing some summer squash separately first, & then thawing/cooking it to see if you like the texture/taste before adding it to a home-frozen mix.

Remember that commercial frozen vegetable operations are able to flash-freeze veggies with little damage to taste/texture when properly done. While it certainly might be my own incompetence, I have found that some vegetables just don't perform as well when frozen at home.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 8:37AM
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LoraxDave(z7B Alabama)

Good point!! I hadn't thought about the flash freezing.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 9:59AM
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ankraras(8/9AZ)

I yield hardly any beans on my plants. The flowers usually disappear before beans get a chance to
develop. ;-]


Ankrara's Hobby Corner

    Bookmark   February 24, 2005 at 6:30PM
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bellie(7-B ..Va. Beach)

Burpee sells the yard long beans or you can get seeds at the oriental store. Regarding winter melons , you have to create a sauce to make it palatable like chayote. I can give you recipes if interested. Are you a vegetarian??? Bellie

    Bookmark   February 26, 2005 at 6:48AM
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