Gut Rumbles

October 04, 2009

Shuck beans

Originally published August 18, 2004

I am amazed by the number of people who wrote me emails asking what in the hell are "shuck beans." If you've never eaten them, you have not lived a proper life.

Shuck beans are nothing more than your typical Kentucky Wonder green beans, the kind that grow like ivy and climb anything you put around them. I used an old piece of fence nailed between two poles to train MY beans and they ran over and through that fence like kudzu. They had beans hanging off those vines like Jamacian dreadlocks. I could go out and fill a five-gallon bucket with them when they really started producing.

To make shuck beans, you just pop the ends off and peel the strings from those regular green beans and then run a needle through them and hang 'em on long pieces of thread until they dry and rattle in their shucks. Then, you soak them in water overnight, throw 'em in a pot with some salt, fatback and a few new potatoes and cook them all day on the stove.

That's the best mess of beans you'll ever taste.

(By the way, that "mess of beans" is a Kentuckyism that means a whole bunch, enough for a good meal. "I picked a mess of beans today," means it's enough to fill a good-sized pot.)

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