Sweet and Sour Green Beans
The Pennsylvania Dutch really love sweet and sour side dishes, like this recipe for sweet and sour green beans. It is part of their German heritage. They are a refreshing contrast to all the heavy foods eaten at a traditional meal and, since they preserve a lot of foods, they use a lot of vinegar. I remember my grandmother used to can sour beans. However, when beans were in season, she and my grandfather would just take cooked green or yellow beans and splash them with apple cider vinegar, nothing else. If you like foods more sour, just add more vinegar in place of some of the water and cut down on the sugar in this recipe. Either way, it is a quick, easy, healthy and delicious side dish that complements almost any entree.
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Red and Green Bean Salad
Sliced Cucumber Salad
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- 1 pound fresh green and/or yellow beans, cleaned, trimmed of ends and snapped into 2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup apple cider or white vinegar
- 3/4 cups water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cook the beans in lightly salted boiling water until tender-crisp, about 15 minutes depending on the age and size of the beans. Drain and place in ice water to stop the cooking. Pat dry in a towel. Place in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, water and sugar. Stir vigorously with a whisk or fork until the sugar is dissolved. Taste, adding more vinegar or sugar as desired. It should be a bit more tart than you want because it will mellow out when mixed with the beans. Pour the liquid over the beans. Add salt and pepper and stir well to combine. Taste again and adjust as needed. Place in refrigerator for at least several hours, preferably overnight. Stir occasionally if not totally immersed in the liquid.
Notes: Beans will keep up to a week. If you want them to last longer, make certain they are covered with the liquid. They will last for several weeks. When green beans are not in season, canned beans, preferably 'no salt added', one of the few canned vegetables that are fairly good, can be substituted for the fresh. Drain them well and do not cook.