I brought these green beans home from Alabama. Although I don't recall ever seeing these beans, my Mother tells me that her parents used to grow them. I suppose that puts them into the catagory of "heirloom" beans, although I'm not sure exactly what that means.
These beans are not the slender variety of green beans found in the produce department of your grocery store (although I like those very much). These beans are hefty. These beans are "string beans" and "snap beans" because that is exactly what is required of them. They have thick strings running down both sides of the beans which must be removed. Then they are snapped into manageable sized pieces.
If you have ever been served green beans which have not been stringed, you know how unpleasant that can be. So please take your time and be thorough when removing the strings from the beans. Also know that these beans take a little longer to cook than those aformentioned supermarket green beans.
Once the beans are cooked, the purple mottling disappears and they look like any other hot climate summer string bean. I prepared my beans very simply, with a bit of leftover ham, sweet Vidalia onion, and new potatoes.
Summer Green Beans with New Potatoes
2 lbs. green beans
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
1 cup diced ham
10 - 12 new potatoes
Salt and Pepper
Combine approximately 4 cups water, the ham, and the chopped onion in a large pan. Bring to a boil, lower heat, then simmer while preparing the beans and potatoes. Add stringed. snapped and rinsed green beans. Cook for about 30 minutes. Scrub potatoes with a vegetable brush and cut a strip around the middle with a vegetable peeler. Add to the pot along with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until the potatoes and beans are tender, checking and adding more water if needed. Serve with coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.