The common bean, (Phaseolus vulgaris), is a plant that has many different varieties. One such variety is the green bean.
Green beans make for a great addition to any snack or meal. They’re packed full of flavor and nutrition and can be used in a wide range of dishes. However, there are, even within the green bean family, many different varieties. Of those, one of the tastiest is the Blue Lake Bush bean.
Brief History of The Blue Lake Bush Bean
The Blue Lake Bush bean originated in the Lake County area of California in the early 20th century. The bean gets its name from the Blue Lakes that are nestled into the western part of the county.
Originally, Blue Lake beans were solely a “pole” variety of bean, meaning the plant grew as a climbing vine that required both ample support and space to grow properly.
However, as they became household favorites and were beginning to be produced on a larger scale, they were subsequently developed into a “bush” variety.
Appearance and Taste
Blue Lake Bush beans are handsome, verdant green beans that grow to be about 5-7 inches in length. They have slender pods marked by smooth little hills that indicate the tasty beans within.
The plant is a short, dense little bush with spade-shaped leaves. Beneath the foliage cover you can find pretty, delicate flowers in both white and yellow.
A fresh Blue Lake green bean pod is firm with a little flexibility. It breaks apart with a snap. Of course, there are many ways to enjoy these beans but they’re even delicious raw.
They’re crisp and fresh without stringiness and have a flavor that’s green and hearty but not overbearing.
The Blue Lake Bush beans are a healthy, nutritious addition to any diet and come in at a mere 20 to 25 calories per serving.
This includes a total of 6 grams of carbs, or a net total of 4 grams accounting for the 2 grams of fiber. A serving also has a gram of protein and no fat.
As much as those numbers should encourage anybody who is keeping an eye on their calorie intake, the micronutrient profile of these beans is just as impressive.
Not only is the fiber that they’re packed with great for digestion, but these green beans have lots of iron, potassium, vitamin k, and calcium.
Cooking With Blue Lake Green Beans
The Blue Lake Bush beans are tasty raw, but they’re delicious when cooked. So, here are some ideas for how to serve them in meals, snacks, and to children.
- Green Bean Casserole
- An addition to fried rice or stir fry
- Grilled or sautéed and served beside chicken or fish
- Pasta with chicken and green beans
- Bean salad
- Fried green beans
Kid Friendly Cooking Ideas
Often kids won’t touch a vegetable, even if it’s cooked wonderfully. This may not be because they’re necessarily repulsed by the taste, but rather because they just assume they won’t like it.
Green beans, though, are one of those great vegetables that can disappear into a wide variety of dishes and so avoid detection by picky children.
This is particularly true for the Blue Lake Bush bean. While succulent, it isn’t overpowering. It’s marvelous at absorbing and incorporating any surrounding flavors into itself.
Try dicing these green beans. They can easily vanish into a number of dishes to subtly fortify the meal’s nutritional value.
Where to Buy Them
Because these beans are so popular in home gardens, there are lots of online retailers that sell their seeds. Two great online outlets that sell them are Hoss Tools and True Leaf Market.
Check your local grocery store. If they don’t have Blue Lake green beans fresh, they may have them canned or frozen.
You can also check your local farmer’s market as they’re very popular among individuals who choose to grow their own green beans.
Growing Your Own
If you enjoy having lots of green beans, it may not be a bad idea to try growing your own. The Blue Lake Bush bean in particular is excellent for a home grow for many reasons.
To name a few, they have excellent flavor, they’re able to grow closely clustered to one another, they don’t require lots of vertical space, and they tend to be ready for harvest all at once.
When to Plant and Harvest
Now, you may not be able to find these beans at your local nursery. However, as you’re likely going to want a number of these little bushes, and given their speedy growth rate, it makes more sense to purchase the seeds anyway.
As Blue Lake Bush beans can be ready to pick in as few as 50 days, you have wiggle room regarding when to plant. They do require lots of sunlight though, so it’s ideal to plant them in the spring once it gets to be consistently warm outside.
They should all be ready to pick at the same time, so harvest them once they get to be roughly 6 inches. Let any that are lagging grow for a couple extra days or weeks.
Furthermore, being diligent about harvesting them can encourage additional growth.
Pest and Disease Prevention
Blue Lake Bush beans are resistant to mosaic virus, but pests and infections are still things you want to watch out for.
Fortunately, there are many great products that are excellent at preventing pests and fungal infections from threatening your crop.
For example, neem oil is a great organic fungicide and pesticide that you can use to ensure that your beans stay healthy. Otherwise, try a copper fungicide.
Enjoy Your Blue Lake Bush Beans
For a delicious, nutritious vegetable, the Blue Lake Bush bean is an excellent choice. This vegetable is easy to grow and highly versatile in the kitchen.
At Minneopa Orchards we love our vegetables. We have lots of informative content on everything that grows, including plenty of articles on beans. Check out our beans page for posts on everything from planting and raising beans to cooking them and beyond!