My goal is that Live Simply Natural be a resource to help you feel empowered when making food choices. I’m a big believer that eating a well-balanced diet is the best way to optimize your health. So I’m breaking down everything you need to know to unlocking the nutritional powerhouse of the most common whole food ingredients. Today I’m sharing one of my fall and spring time favorites – GREEN BEANS!
Produce Guide: Green Beans
Green Beans are very similar to kidney beans and pinto beans, only they’re harvested before their pods grow too thick and tough to eat. Because the legumes are unripe, they’re generally tender and sweet having a delightfully fresh flavor with a satisfying crunch. While you can typically find green beans all year round at the supermarkets, they are typically in season in the spring and fall season , you can continue to find them well into the summer in climates that are cooler. Green beans work well in stews and thick purées, or can simply be grilled whole and eaten raw from their pods with salt and a squeeze of lemon.
Green beans also are a great source of vitamin A and antioxidants, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and betacarotenes, which neutralize harmful free radicals. The vitamin C helps to fight infection, such as in colds or flu, the fiber helps keep your system flushed from toxins, and the carotene zeaxanthin protects eye health from UV rays by absorbing into the retina and helping to protect against macular degeneration. The high folate levels in green beans team up with vitamin B12 to keep DNA production and cell division at optimum levels. Green beans also contain iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium, which are essential for your bodies metabolism.
NUTRIENT BREAKDOWN OF GREEN BEANS
*per 1 cup raw green beans, 100g (source)
- Fiber | 3.7 g (15% DV)
- Protein | 2 g (4% DV)
- Carbohydrates | 7.8 g (3% DV)
- Vitamin C | 17.9 mg (30% DV)
- Vitamin A | 759 IU (15% DV)
- Vitamin K | 15.8 mg (20% DV)
- Folate | 40.7 mg (10% DV)
- Magnesium | 27.5 mg (7% DV)
- Potassium | 230 g (7 % DV)
- Calcium | 30 mg (3.75 % DV)
- Iron | 1.1 mg (6% DV)
HOW TO BUY
When shopping for green beans, also known as string beans, you should always look for the same things: Look for beans crisp enough to snap in half (yet another name for greens beans is snap beans). Avoid beans that are browning or bruised. Your best bet for green beans is at a local farmers’ market but you can typically find good quality green beans at the supermarket as well.
HOW TO STORE
If you don’t have immediate plans for your beans, it’s best to keep them in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer and will last for about a week. It’s perfectly safe — and nutritionally advisable — to eat them raw. But they are also well-suited for long-term storage, like freeze or canning. To freeze beans, boil them for a few minutes; plunge them into ice cold water and then stash in freezer bags. When canning green beans, blanching for just a couple minutes beforehand will help the beans retain their “snap” quality. A half-teaspoon of salt added to home-canned beans helps to retain the flavor.
HOW TO PREPARE
Wash your fresh green beans thoroughly in clear, cool water. Lift beans from the wash water and leave garden debris behind. Rinse again if needed. Break off the end (the top and tail) as you wash them. Leave whole or cut into desired lengths. Beans can be cooked whole, cut crosswise, diagonally or French-cut. If you want sweet tasting, crisp fresh beans, cut them as little as possible. Cut older, more mature beans in the French style. Make sure all the pieces are similar in length so they will cook evenly.
Green Bean Recipes
Looking for more ways to use green beans? Check out our favorite recipes here!
WHAT’S YOUR FAV?
What ingredient do you guys want to learn more about? And if you have a favorite way to eat green beans, tag @livesimplynatural or #livesimplynatural so the LSN community can get inspired by your dish too :)