Beans are a wonderful crop for the Belgium conditions (rain and some sun). At this time of year the plants are producing lots of beans requiring picking every other day. Picking should be done in a measured way, before the beans get too large, picking roughly the same quantity each time.
By using the same utensils a set quantity are picked for eating that day or processing for freezing. Here the colander holds two pots of diced beans. One pot of diced beans is a measure for one meal. Topping and tailing the beans and dicing allows for checking the beans have not become hard.
The basic method for preparing beans is by boiling the diced beans for 10-15 minutes then rinsing well in cold water. This removes the natural toxins from the beans and softens the beans. The amount of boiling can be adjusted, less for younger beans and longer for more mature beans.
Once chilled in cold water, the beans are left to cool fully either for cooking next or for bagging and freezing. The beans can be cooked in a range of dishes from soups and stews to rice dishes. Gently heating in a pan with diced onion and garlic prepares the beans for eating or adding to other dishes.
At this time of the year the freezer quickly becomes filled with bags of prepared beans. Each bag is sufficient as a component for a meal for four people. Beans are an ideal filler for many winter dishes and bring a nice touch of summer to the winter diet.