- Green beans are one of the few varieties of beans that can be eaten fresh. Since they are picked while the beans are immature, we are actually eating the seed pods.
- They are a great source for many nutrients including vitamins C & K, manganese and fiber. They are also filled with colorful pigments, carotenoids – like carrots and tomatoes. We don’t see these colors because the chlorophyll concentration is so high, it masks them, but heir benefits are there.
- 60% of all commercially grown green beans are available in the United States. You can grow them in your back yard. We planted 12 seeds of “Kentucky Wonder” bush bean variety this year and are harvesting enough beans to feed the two of us every five days. You keep picking, they keep blooming and creating new beans.
- Early summer is the best time to obtain them at the least expense.
- The highest food value is obtained from fresh beans, but you can still get valuable nutrients from green beans that are frozen or canned.
- Frozen beans, when cooked retain about 90% of their B vitamins. Canned ones lose more food value, but some is better than none when you are hungry.
- Green beans have the highest antioxidant capacity of all the other members of the pea and bean families, with a diverse mixture of flavonoids and carotenoids, including lutein.
- They also are a good source of the mineral silicon, which is important for bone health and for healthy formation of connective tissue.
- Additional health benefits include cardiovascular, anti-inflammatory and prevention of type 2 diabetes.
- Known by their Latin name, Phaseolus vulgaris, beans derived from a common bean ancestor, originating in Peru. From there, they were spread to South & Central America by migrating Indian tribes. They were introduced into Europe by Spanish explorers.
- Unwashed beans stored in a plastic bag will keep refrigerated for about seven days.
- Wash before cooking and cut off both ends. Steam them for five minutes and season to taste.
Billie Nicholson, Editor