This section is from the book "Hints To Housewives On How To Buy, How To Care For Food", by Mayor Mitchel's Food Supply Committee. Also available from Amazon: Hints to Housewives on How to Buy, How to Care for Food.
This vegetable should be cooked as soon as possible after gathering. Some varieties of peas lack sweetness, and in this case a little sugar in the water in which they are cooked improves the flavor. Overcooking spoils the color and flavor of the vegetable. Peas should always be boiled slowly, and with the cover partially off the stew - pan. It is impossible to give the exact time of cooking this vegetable, since so much depends upon the maturity of the peas, the length of time they have been picked, etc. Young, tender peas will generally cook in twenty or thirty minutes, and the seasoning should be added while they are still firm and crisp. When peas are overgrown and a little hard they should be cooked by the rule "Peas with Pork." When this rule is followed a pinch of delicate, small, white onions may be added to the peas and other ingredients and will give a very savory dish.
Put one quart of shelled peas in a stew-pan and add enough boiling water to cover them generously. Place over a hot fire and when they begin to boil draw back where the water will bubble gently. Until the peas are done cook with the cover partially off the stewpan. When the peas are tender add one teaspoon of salt and three tablespoons of butter or drippings. Cook ten minutes longer. If the peas are not the sweet kind add a teaspoon of sugar with the salt and butter or drippings.
1 quart peas 4 ounces pork
1/2 cup water
2 small white onions
1/8 teaspoonful pepper
Cut pork into small bits and put into stew-pan on the fire. Cook gently until a light brown, then add the water, peas, onion, and pepper. This is a good way to cook peas when they are a little old and hard.
Formerly it was difficult to find the slender, stringless green beans, but to-day the progressive market gardeners make a point of raising beans of this kind. Unfortunately, not all market gardeners and farmers are progressive, and many still raise a coarse, fibrous bean that is a disappointment to the customer. In the very early stage of the pod almost any kind of bean will be good, if properly cooked, but all except the stringless kind must have their strings carefully removed. The pods should be gathered while small and tender. If for any reason they become wilted, they must be made crisp and fresh by being soaked in cold water. The beans that are brought from the South in cold weather are usually more or less wilted. They should be freed from strings, cut up, and soaked at least twelve hours in cold water. They will then cook like fresh beans.
To Blanch Green Beans. Green beans should always be blanched. To do this drain them from the cold water and put them into water that is boiling rapidly, allowing a teaspoon of salt to two quarts of water. Boil rapidly, with the cover partially off the saucepan, for twenty minutes. Turn into a colander and let cold water run upon them. They are now ready to be finished in any manner you like. The blanching can be done in the morning while the fire is good and the beans be finished for dinner at the proper time.
1 quart beans 1/2 pint water
1 generous tablespoon butter or drippings
1 level teaspoon salt
String the beans if necessary and cut them into two-inch lengths. Blanch them as directed. Drain and put in the saucepan with the water, salt, and butter or drippings. Cook for ten minutes over a hot fire, turning the contents of the saucepan from time to time. Serve very hot. If the beans are not tender it may take fifteen minutes to cook them, but under all circumstances be careful not to overcook, as this ruins the flavor. If overcooked, green beans become yellow or brown.
Boil about a quarter of a pound of pork for five hours. Have the beans free from strings and cut about 2 inches long. Cook them with the pork until tender (about half an hour).
All the varieties of this bean, when gathered while the seeds are still tender, may be cooked like the Lima beans. They may also be boiled with pork like green beans. It takes from one to two hours to cook kidney beans.
Cover 1 quart of the shelled beans with boiling water. Place on the fire where they will boil up quickly, then draw back where they will just simmer until done. When tender pour off a part of the water. Season the beans with a teaspoon of salt and one tablespoon of drippings.
Or drain the water from the beans. Put the drippings in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon of flour. Stir over the fire until smooth, then add the beans and stir over the fire for five minutes. Draw back and add half a pint of water, meat stock, or milk. Simmer ten minutes. If liked, a teaspoon of fine herbs may be added a few minutes before serving. It will take from forty-five to sixty minutes to boil the beans sufficiently.