Week 23: Green Beans
Green beans are commonly referred to as string beans, the string that once was their trademark (running lengthwise down the seam of the pod) can seldom be found in modern varieties. You may also see them referred to as "haricot vert"—this term simply means "green bean" in French and is the common French term for this vegetable.
Green beans belong to the same family as pinto, black, and kidney beans. However, since green beans are usually picked while still immature and while the inner beans are just beginning to form in the pod, they are typically eaten in fresh form, pod and all (versus eaten dried which is done with pinto, black and kidney beans).
Green beans are an excellent source of vitamin K. They are a very good source of manganese, vitamin C, dietary fiber, folate, and vitamin B2. In addition, they are a good source of copper, vitamin B1, chromium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, choline, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), niacin, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, vitamin B6, and vitamin E.
Antioxidant support- Green beans contain a wide variety of carotenoids and flavonoids, as well as, conventional antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese which have all been shown to have health-supportive antioxidant properties.
Cardiovascular benefits- Improvement in levels of blood fats and better protection of these fats from oxygen damage has been seen in animal studies (on rats and mice). Interestingly, the green bean pod (the portion of the green beans that provide the covering) appears to be more closely related to these cardiovascular benefits than the young, immature beans that are found inside.
Selection and Storage:
If possible, purchase green beans at a store or farmer's market that sells them loose so that you can sort through them to choose the beans of best quality. Purchase beans that have a smooth feel and a vibrant green color. They should have a firm texture and "snap" when broken.
Store unwashed fresh beans in a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper. Whole beans stored this way should keep for about seven days.
Green beans are among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates (naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings). When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating green beans.
This recipe for roasted green beans with garlic, lemon, pine nuts and parmigiano cheese from Once Upon A Chef is absolutely delicious!