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Guide to Blue Lake Bush Beans

Everything a homesteader and prepper needs to know

 

Blue Lake Bush beans are a bush or dwarf variety of the Green Beans plant, it is a cultivar which means you can eat the beans by themselves or you can eat the beans and pods together.

Which is the most common way people do eat them. They are an annual, so they need to be seeded each and every year.

There is a blue lake variety that is a climbing type, but this article will concentrate on the bush variety.

 

What are green beans

 

All green bean varieties including the Blue Lake Bush Beans are legumes, and you may know them as snap beans or sting beans depending on where you are from.

As I have already mentioned they are usually eaten cooked and with the pod.

 

Where do you find them

 

They originated in South America in the region that is now Peru, and they have been eaten traditionally for thousands of years.

Native Americans used to grow the beans with corn because there were only climbing varieties originally, so they would use the corn stalk as a natural trellis for the green beans to grow on.

Green beans have been a part of Mexican cooking for at least 7,000 years, which is pretty cool.  

They are still extremely popular to this day; they are the most popular bean that is eaten with the pod in the USA, and they are widely eaten in many traditional cuisines in Europe.

 

Green beans nutrition

 

For a vegetable, they have a lot of potential health benefits and contain a lot of vitamins and minerals that you may require… like:

 

Vitamin C

 

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, which means your body does not make it.

Therefore, you must consume sufficient quantities in your diet for good health. Vitamin C has antioxidant properties which have been shown to lessen disease risk, and it is an important component of your immune system.

This means you will be less likely to get colds, bugs, and viruses and if you do get them you will recover quicker.

 

Vitamins K

 

Vitamin K1 is usually the type found in plants, and Vitamin K2 is found in animals. Meat and fish do contain K1 and K2, but plants only contain K1. You do need both, but green beans are an excellent source of K1.

Vitamin K is important for protein synthesis and blood coagulation. Vitamin K deficiency has also been linked with Osteoporosis.

 

Vitamin A

 

There are two ways to get Vitamin A. The first is via retinol from animals foods, and the second is through carotenes in plants.

Beef liver has the highest concentrations of Vitamin A you can get, but there are good plant-based options with carrots been the most famous. However, green beans have just as good levels of Vitamin A as carrots do.

Vitamin A has many uses and is essential to humans, it plays as huge role in your immune system but probably the benefit most people know Vitamin A for is that it helps with your eyesight. 

 

Manganese

 

Is a chemical that is important in helping enzymes perform their functions. It is a very important chemical in dealing with cell oxidisation, or you might know it as free radicals.

When you sleep, your body breaks down free radicals and repurposes them to build new cells. If your body cannot break down more free radicals than you produce, then you have a higher risk of diseases like cancer.

 

Potassium

 

Potassium is another essential chemical that green beans contain. Potassium is essential for all cells because they allow healthy functioning of the nervous system.

A deficiency in potassium, can lead to heart rhythm and electrocardiographic health issues. Apart from vegetables, rock and sea salt are great ways to consume dietary potassium.

 

Iron

 

Blue Lake Bush Beans are a great source of non-heme iron, as are a lot of the leafy dark green vegetables. Heme and non-heme iron is vital in transporting oxygen around the body… so its pretty important ha-ha. 

 

Riboflavin

 

Otherwise know as B12, it is an essential B vitamin which must be consumed in your diet.

It is important for many reasons, but it is a requirement for cellular health and respiration. Without it, cells would not be able to convert oxygen into energy.

 

Calcium

 

Calcium has a huge range of uses in the body, the one you will probably know about the most is that it is used in the formation of bones.

But it is also a vital component in muscle contraction, and if your muscles don’t contract then you wouldn’t be able to walk, lift things, oh and your heart wouldn’t beat!

 

In general

 

Green beans are low in fat, carbs, and protein. So, they are not much help in emergency survival situations, where you just need to hit calorie/energy goals for a short period of time.

However, they are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

This means they are important vegetable if you are a homesteader that is looking to be self sufficient and grow your own produce, and they also handle canning well so they can be a great way for a long-term survivalist or prepper to make sure they can provide healthy meals to themselves and their family.

 

How to identify Blue Lake Bush Beans

 

The Blue Lake Bush Beans variety was established in 1961. They were mainly intended for preservation through canning, but people enjoyed them fresh.

So, you will find Blue Lake Bush Beans in the fresh vegetable aisle and the canned goods aisle.

They have proved to be useful vegetables to grow for homesteaders in their allotments or gardens, and to larger scale producers for supermarkets.

The reason for this is that they are very hardy, they are easy to grow, and they are resistant to pests and diseases. Meaning they are a low-risk vegetable to grow, especially considering how important they are in a healthy diet.

 A lot of green beans are of the climbing variety meaning they grow tall and require supports, like canes.

The bush varieties only grow to about 5 or 6 inches, and do not require supports. This makes them easier to grow, less labour intensive, and take up less room in your plot.

 

How to grow your own Blue Lake Bush Beans

 

So, you have decided you want to grow some Blue Lake Bush Beans, this is how you can do it:

 

Step one

 

You will need to buy some seeds. Blue Lake Bush Beans are a popular variety, so you will likely find them wherever sells vegetables seeds, like Garden and DIY centres.

They can also be bought easily online through sites like Amazon. However, I like to use trusted sites so that I know I am getting a high-quality seed.

I use My Patriot Supply online store for a whole range of things, so this is the first place I look for all of the seeds I buy.

 

Step two

 

Prepare the area where you are going to grow them. You want an area in your garden, allotment, farm, or base camp that gets good sunlight. Remove any debris and rake the area over.

You can add some compost into the area, but it isn’t necessary to add nitrogen fertiliser.

Then you need to make raised rows with the soil, around 18-iches is a good height. Then leave about 18-inches between the rows.

You can also grow them in pots if you wish but that isn’t necessary as they can be sowed straight into the soil.

 

Step three

 

Give the rows a good watering.

 

Step four

 

Sow the seeds… 1 inch deep and 3 inches apart from each other.

As they grow, they should support each other and that is the main benefit of a bush green bean over a pole variety, if they appear to need support then you can use a trellis or a polytunnel if it is windy for instance. But you should be ok.

Because they are quick growing you can grow them over a large period of time over any given year. But they can not be sowed when there is regular frost. So, wait for around 2 weeks after the last frost and when no new frost is likely.

 

Step five

 

Keep the soil moist as they germinate.

 

Step six

 

To ensure you get the best harvest, as they grow try to snip back excess seedlings.

Leaving you with big and healthy stems around every 6 inches. If you are not confident doing this, it is not a necessary step. You are better off leaving in too many germinated seeds, then not having enough.

 

Step seven

 

Throughout their growing period they will require just over an inch of water a week.

A great tip is to put mulch between the raised rows as this helps with water runoff and slows evaporation. Once they are established you can feed them once a week, with homemade or shop bought fertilizer.

 

Step eight

 

Keep an eye out for pests and disease, once they are flowering you may notice insect infestations from things like aphids and thrips. Deal with these as you would on any other plant, I generally use a soap or oil spray.

 

Step nine

 

When the beans are 3 to 6 inches long, you can pick them depending on your preference. It is best removing them by hand, by snapping them off the vine. Pick before they bulge and split.

Bush beans may be ready around the 2-week mark, which is super quick.

This is because they are determinate plants, so stop growing height wise at a certain point, this means they flower quicker because they have less growing to do. However, you could be picking from the same plant for upwards of 8 weeks.

 

Step ten

 

To decrease waste and ensure a more efficient and continuous supply of Blue Lake Bush Beans, then plant one row at a time with a week between each row.

 

Eat Blue Lake Bush Beans fresh

 

Green beans are great eaten fresh, and like with all veg the fresher the better. They can be eaten raw, but they are more regularly eaten cooked. The main ways they are prepared are:

 

  • Boiling in water for 5 minutes of so
  • Steam in a pan or steamer for a similar amount of time.
  • Sauté them in oil or butter.
  • Roast them in the oven.

 

Canned Blue Lake Bush Beans

 

Fresh Blue Lake Bush Beans are great for any homesteader looking for self-sustainability but can be just grown if you like having some home grown vegetables and full off-grid food supply isn’t the goal.

Basically, fresh Blue Lake Bush Beans are great for very short-term food planning, as they should be eaten within a week of picking.

The great thing about green beans is that they handle the canning process very well and maintain a lot of their nutritional profile.

This means canned Blue Lake Bush Beans become a great option for medium and long-term emergency food preppers and survivalists.

When you are prepping your emergency food store/bunker, you cannot just fill it will rice and jerky.

You need a wide range of foods with a long shelf life, so you can provide you and your family with a full complement of carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Therefore, canned Blue Lake Bush Beans should be on any potential list of survival foods you are planning.

 

How to can your own Blue Lake Bush Beans

 

Obviously, you can buy canned Blue Lake Bush Beans from supermarkets or prepper shops and websites like My Patriot Supply.

However, if you are interested in doing it yourself. Canning your own green beans is pretty easy. They maintain their nutritional profile, as well as their texture.

Then when it comes to eating them, you just warm them up in the solution that is already in the can.

There are two main methods of canning Blue Lake Bush Beans:

 

Pressure Can Method

 

You will need to buy a pressure canner for this method. Then you simply prepare the green beans, and the solution you are going to use, then you follow the instructions on the pressure can appliance.

This is the best option for a long and nutritious shelf life.

 

Non-Pressure Can Method

 

If you do not want your green beans to last more than a year, and you are only looking for shorter term options, or you do not have a pressure canner.

Then pickling them in a jar is the best option. Here you add the green beans, to a water, vinegar, and salt solution. Then seal the jar.

 

Conclusion

 

Blue Lake Bush Beans are widely available in seed form for you to grow, in supermarkets to buy ready to eat, and in cans with a long shelf life.

This makes them a valuable part of any “shopping list”, whether you are growing your own shopping list, or you are keeping a staple of foods in storage for emergencies and survival situations.

On top of this they are an easy and tasty way to ensure you get a large range of essential vitamins and minerals.

So, of you haven’t tried them yet, give them a go.

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Hi - I'm Tom, the owner and founder of TheSurvivalSpirit.com! I'm a passionate outdoors enthusiast and am dedicated to bringing you the hottest online survival advice.  

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