What are Green beans/ French Beans?
Green beans are the unripe, young fruit and protective pods of various cultivars of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). Immature or young pods of the runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus), yardlong bean (Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis), and hyacinth bean (Lablab purpureus) are used in a similar way. Green beans are known by many common names, including French beans, string beans, snap beans, and snaps.
They are distinguished from the many differing varieties of beans in that green beans are harvested and consumed with their enclosing pods, typically before the seeds inside have fully matured. This practice is analogous to the harvesting of unripened pea pods as snow peas or sugar snap peas.
Green Beans which are also known as french beans are rich in minerals and vitamins like vitamin A, C, K, B6, folic acid, alcium, silicon, iron, manganese, potassium. They have many health benefits which includes eye care, heart health, regulates blood sugar, aids in digestion among others.
History Of Green Beans
Green beans are native to North, South, and Central America. Plant specialists have documented their native status in numerous parts of Mexico, as well as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In South America, the native status of green beans has been linked to Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru. Over time, green beans have become naturalized and cultivated worldwide, and they are enjoyed in virtually all types of cuisines.
Because of their diverse naturalization and cultivation, green beans are grown in exportable amounts in many countries throughout the world. Among the world’s green bean producing countries are China, India, and Indonesia in Asia and Southeast Asia; Turkey, Egypt, and Morocco in the Middle East and Northern Africa; France, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, and Greece in Europe; Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Costa Rica in Central America; Argentina in South America; and Mexico, Canada, and the United States in North America. In 2015, two thirds of all green beans imported into the U.S. came from Mexico, and 26% from Guatemala, for a total of 93% of all imported green beans.
Within the United States, green beans are commercially grown in many states. Included as major producers of green beans are Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Florida, California, New York, Oregon, North Carolina, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. To a significant extent, the marketplace for green beans is divided up into smaller categories. For example, most green beans grown for processing (into canned and frozen products) are grown in the Midwestern states, while most “fresh market” green beans are grown in the Southern states, Southeastern states, or West Coast states.
Different species of Green Beans
Our common green bean aside, there are three other important species of the Phaseolus genus. The scarlet runner (Phaseolus coccineus) is more popular overseas than here. There is also a bush version of the scarlet runner, which is still classified as a runner. This bean, although closely resembling P. vulgaris, will not cross with it in conventional breeding.
Lima beans (Phaseolus lunatus), which aren’t very well known or appreciated in South Africa, come in pole or runner and bush varieties. The lima’s shelled beans are removed from the pods before they begin to dry, and these are eaten. The tepary bean (Phaseolus acutifolius) is used as a dry bean and is one of the world’s most drought-tolerant crops. It’s making a comeback in many parts of the world due to its excellent food value and taste.
Within the four species there are many colour varieties ranging from purple to yellow, black and mottled, and of course, green. Interestingly, some pole (runner) beans have retained a flavour long forgotten in bush beans. Yard long beans, which are from the genus Vigna, are a variety of cow-pea. Although most South Africans haven’t come across yard long beans before, they taste better than they sound.
The yard long bean is quite a heat-tolerant crop. In Taiwan, green beans are grown on reed structures in winter and then these same structures are used to produce yard long beans in summer when it’s too hot for green beans. Green beans are preferred as they taste better, but it’s either yard long in summer or nothing.
Modern bean characteristics
Green beans used to have a very strong fibrous thread along the seams, and were thus referred to as string beans, a term mostly used by old-timers. I guess I’m an old-timer, as I still remember having to help my mother string beans as a child. Thankfully, modern beans are stringless. In 1896, Calvin Keeney from New York developed the first stringless green bean. Of course, it took many years to breed this new trait into all the other varieties.
Breeders still have to be careful not to let strings creep back into the varieties they’re developing. Some of our common pole beans are still stringed. But these are usually harvested when they’re still very immature – when they haven’t yet developed strings. However, the extra labour required to grow pole beans has made the crop less popular in this country.
Another change that has been taking place in the bean industry is the move to darker-green pods. Strangely enough, some years ago, a breeder from an American seed company told me that they were having a problem getting their shoppers to choose the darker-coloured pods as they thought the beans had been frozen and then thawed.
Ironically, perception has changed to the point where today, light-coloured pods are less popular as some shoppers consider them to be old. Size has also changed a lot over the years. Modern varieties now boast very fine beans of 5 mm in diameter of various lengths, which are usually cooked whole.
Most of our market beans are 9 mm to 10 mm in diameter and 12 cm to 15 cm long. Many bush beans can reach 20 cm in length, but some pole beans can be substantially longer and more often than not, also flat.
Green Beans vs. Haricots Verts: What’s the Difference?
When you’re in the supermarket and looking to buy some green beans, you’re often presented with two options: green beans, and usually right next to them, haricots verts, sometimes called French beans. What’s the difference between the two?
The answer? Not very much. In fact, haricots verts just means “green beans” in French. There are two main differences, though: haricots verts tend to be skinnier than traditional green beans, and are also more expensive. They’re actually bred that way: not only are they thinner, they’re also more tender and flavorful than comparably sized traditional green beans. They’re also younger than traditional green beans; if you were to pick regular old green beans at the same age at which haricots verts are harvested, they’d be missing a lot of that “beany” flavor. In France, all green beans are called haricots verts; the skinnier, pricier ones are called haricots verts filets extra-fins.
Whether a restaurant serves green beans or haricots verts really depends on what type of restaurant it is. Traditionally, the green beans served at restaurants usually come from a can, and are common at diners. Better restaurants almost exclusively use haricots verts, because they’re more attractive (and the French name doesn’t hurt either).
Nutrition Value of Green beans
The nutritional benefits of green beans are hard to argue with. These delicious and crunchy beans are low in calories and fat and contain no cholesterol. The fiber content is very high, and it also provides some of your daily protein requirements. They also act as an easy source for acquiring vitamins like vitamin A, C, K, B6, and folic acid. In terms of minerals, green beans are a good source of calcium, silicon, iron, manganese, potassium, and copper.
Amount Per 100 grams
- Calories 31
- Total Fat 0.1 g
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Sodium 6 mg
- Potassium 209 mg 5%
- Carbohydrate 7 g 2%
- Dietary fiber 3.4 g – 13% RDA
- Protein 1.8 g – 3% RDA
- Vitamin A 2% RDA
- Vitamin C 27% RDA
- Calcium 3% RDA
- Iron 5% RDA
- Vitamin B-6 5% RDA
- Magnesium 6% RDA
Calories and Macronutrients
String beans make a great addition to a calorie-controlled diet, because each cup contains just 31 calories, or 2 percent of the daily calorie intake in a 2,000-calorie diet. Each serving of string beans offers 7 grams of carbohydrates, including 2.7 grams of dietary fiber, as well as 2 grams of protein and less than half a gram of fat. The carbohydrates in beans provide energy while their fiber content promotes digestive health, and the beans’ protein content maintains the health of your hair, muscles and skin.
Vitamins A and C
Add string beans to your diet as a source of vitamins, particularly vitamins A and C. Your body uses vitamin A to support your immune system, as well as to maintain healthy skin and eyes, while vitamin C maintains the strength of your blood vessels, bones and teeth. A cup of string beans offers 12 milligrams of vitamin C and 690 international units of vitamin A. This provides 16 percent of the vitamin C and 30 percent of the vitamin A requirements for women, as well as 14 and 23 percent of the recommended daily vitamin C and A intakes for men, respectively, according to the Institute of Medicine.
String Beans Pump Up Your Iron
String beans also provide a considerable amount of iron, as well as small amounts of other minerals. Iron plays a central role in your body’s ability to use oxygen — it allows your muscles to store oxygen for future use, and helps your red blood cells circulate oxygen in your bloodstream. Each serving of string beans contains 1 milligram of iron — 6 and 13 percent of the Institute of Medicine-recommended daily intakes for women and men, respectively. String beans also serve as modest sources of magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.
Eating More String Beans
String beans are a convenient snack served raw — eat them on their own, or pair them with hummus, guacamole or fresh salsa. Use string beans as a healthful side dish — they work well lightly coated in toasted sesame oil and then roasted, or sauteed with minced garlic and olive oil. Alternatively, steam string beans and season with lemon juice and black pepper. Eat the steamed beans as a side dish, and use any leftovers as a topping for leafy green salad or as a filling for wraps.
Green beans contain protein
Your body needs protein to maintain:
- healthy bones
Protein is also essential to a healthy immune system. Plant proteins are not complete proteins; that is, they lack at least one of the amino acids your body needs. But plant proteins are still beneficial. They can be combined with other proteins throughout the day to make complete proteins. One cup of raw green beans has almost 2 g of protein.
Green beans are a good source of minerals, especially manganese. This essential mineral supports your metabolism and has antioxidant abilities. It also supports bone health and promotes wound healing.
Other minerals in one cup of raw green beans include:
- calcium: 37 mg
- iron: 1.03 mg
- magnesium: 25 mg
- phosphorous: 38 mg
- potassium: 211 mg
- zinc: 0.24 mg
Vitamin K Benefits:
Vitamin K plays a prominent role in blood clotting and heals the wounds. It also maintain strong bones in the elderly
Rich in fiber:
Green beans are a rich source of dietary fiber. Dietary fibers have many health benefits. Fibers are prescribed to people suffering from digestive issues. The fiber content in the green beans helps in prevention and treatment of constipation, haemorrhoids and diverticulosis. The high fiber content in green beans helps to maintain cholesterol and sugar levels in your body.
Green beans are also a good source of folates which are useful for cell division and DNA synthesis. Folate rich foods are also helpful for women during pre-conception period and pregnancy.
Manganese content in green beans help in free radical scavenging act as it is a co-factor for antioxidants. This tends to keep you fit and healthy.
Amazing Health Benefits of Green Beans
1. Reduces Cancer Risk
Green beans are loaded with antioxidants preventing the free radical damage activity. Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. These molecules can bind together and form chains which can affect important cellular components making them function poorly and causing them to die. In worse cases it can also trigger heart ailments and cancers. To prevent free radical damage the body has a defense system of antioxidants.
2. Heart Health
Green Beans contain flavonoids which are polyphenolic antioxidants and have anti inflammatory properties and anti-thrombotic property which prevents blood clots in the the arteries and veins. Cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks, and strokes are commonly caused by thrombotic activity, which means that a healthy volume of green beans and flavonoids in a diet can help prevent some of these conditions.
3. Boosts Immunity
Green beans are a good source of flavonoids and carotenoids. Flavonoids contain basic antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol, but also more useful and beneficial ones like catechin and epicatechin. Catechin has been shown to reduce the severity of strokes. Carotenoids found in green beans contain antioxidants like beta-carotene and lutein.
4. Eye Health
Green Beans has Lutein and Zeaxanthin which play a key role in preventing any stress to the inner workings of the eye. This helps prevent macular degeneration, which is a decrease in vision and eye function.
5. Strengthens Bones
Calcium, found in green beans is integral in preventing bone deterioration and osteoporosis. These beans also contain vitamin K, A, and silicon. Deficiencies in many of these compounds have been connected to increased bone loss, strength, and durability. Silicon is a key element in bone regeneration and overall bone health. Vitamin K activates osteocalcin which is the main non-collagen protein found in bones. This compound locks calcium molecules together inside bone, strengthening them from within.
6. Acts as a Detox
Green beans have diuretic properties which helps serve as a detox and helps rid the body off unwanted toxins.
7. Helps Prevent Depression
Green beans are rich in folate which can prevent an excess of homocysteine in the body.Too much homocysteine can stop blood and other nutrients from reaching the brain, and it can interfere with the production of the feel-good hormones serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which regulate mood, sleep, and appetite.
8. Improve Fertility and Protect Newborns
Infertility affects between 13 percent and 17 percent of couples of reproductive age around the world. It’s such a high percentage that the World Health Organization has recently recognized it as a social disease, meaning it’s caused by various social and economic factors.
Lifestyle and proper nutrition greatly affect fertility and have the potential to correct a large majority of the issues that cause infertility. Green beans and other legumes are excellent sources of nutrition for those at risk for infertility, as they’re low on the glycemic index and also contain significant levels of folate and iron, three factors specifically indicated in nutrition-based research on improving fertility and beating infertility. Folic acid and other antioxidants play a large role in this process.
Folate, or folic acid, doesn’t only help both males and females experience higher levels of fertility — it’s good for babies, too. Dietary folate decreases the risk of a large number of birth defects. This is why you want to avoid folate deficiency, something you can do with green beans nutrition.
9. Aids in Weight Loss
Green Beans are low in calories additionally, these beans contain minimal amounts of sodium,cholesterol and saturated fats, which makes them the best natural aid for weight loss.
10. Regulate blood sugar level
Green Beans has dietary fiber which slows down down carbohydrate metabolism thereby preventing a sudden surge of blood sugar levels in diabetics.
11. Prevent Colon Cancer
Recent studies have shown green bean consumption to be beneficial for preventing pre-cancerous polyps that commonly lead to colon cancer. Many studies have tried to link dry bean intake to cancer prevention, with limited results. However, new evidence suggests that increasing dietary green bean intake can reduce the risk of cancerous adenoma recurrence and colorectal cancer.
Secondly, the high fiber content of green beans can also positively impact your digestive system. Many types of fiber can ease the digestive process and promote bowel movements, which decreases the stress on the intestinal tract. Certain studies have shown a positive correlation between increased fiber intake and a reduction in colon cancer, but again, in-depth researches are still being performed.
12. Control Diabetes
These power-packed legumes have been shown to help manage and regulate diabetes symptoms in many patients. Certain studies have shown a definitive hypoglycemic influence on patients with diabetes. Diabetes is a condition that requires constant maintenance of blood sugar levels at a normal level so the body can perform necessary tasks. Natural regulators of diabetes are rare, and the connection of beans and similar plants to the control or early prevention of diabetes is great news for many people.
13. Treat Gastrointestinal Issues
Green beans are packed with fiber, which is a highly beneficial compound in our bodies. By keeping enough fiber in our diets, we are able to ease certain digestive issues like constipation, hemorrhoids, ulcers, and acid reflux disease. These conditions range from mild irritants to potentially life-threatening, and the amount of fiber we consume is a key element in their prevention. In a normal serving of green beans, which is 110 grams, you can gain 15% of the daily recommended amount of fiber. They are one of the best vegetables to keep your stomach working properly.
14. Pre-natal Care
Green beans are a great source of folic acid, which plays a key role in a number of internal processes, but none are more important than protecting infants in the womb. Folic acid levels in a woman’s body are vital to the normal and healthy development of the fetus in utero, especially in preventing neural tube defects. Green beans provide an easy and delicious way to keep folic acid levels high and ensure a healthy and happy baby.
15. Slows the Spread of HIV in the Body
A fascinating study out of Hong Kong in 2010 studied the effect of a specific nutrient found in French green beans on tumors, fungus and HIV. It found positive effects in all three subsets, but most interestingly was its effect in inhibiting HIV.
HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is an incurable virus spread by the exchange of certain bodily fluids. Unlike other viruses, HIV cannot be completely removed from the body. Left untreated, it can develop into AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). HIV/AIDS is associated with a number of health risks because it attacks T cells that normally help your body fight off infection.
The HIV virus works by a process known as reverse transcription, in which the viral cells use an enzyme, reverse transcriptase, to create what’s known as complementary DNA, or cDNA, from RNA templates. This DNA is bound to the body’s DNA and creates a long-term infection that can’t be separated from the body.
To slow this process, doctors often prescribe antiretrovirals, medications that try to stop reverse transcription so the virus can’t integrate into the body as fast as if left untreated. While these medications can greatly improve the life expectancy of patients with HIV and stave off the virus’ progression into AIDS, researchers have been interested for some time about the effects of nutrition on HIV.
The study from Hong Kong found that the green beans nutrition from French green beans significantly inhibited reverse transcription in HIV-1 cells, the more common form of HIV found throughout the world. These findings suggest that green beans, along with antiretroviral therapy and other HIV/AIDS-fighting foods like spirulina, may be a long-term treatment solution for patients suffering from these viruses.
16. Helps Maintain Healthy Eating Habits
As I just mentioned, green beans are an excellent food for managing glucose levels in people at risk for obesity because they’re a whole grain that scores very low on the glycemic index scale. This is not just for people at risk for diabetes.
Adding green beans to a balanced meal is clinically proven to help you lose weight by reducing your blood glucose levels, making you feel full and slowing the secretion of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, that causes your brain to desire to eat again.
17. Supports a Healthy Digestive System
The fiber in green beans also helps your digestive system maintain optimal health, as it prevents many digestive problems. One method by which they help your digestive system is by protecting the lining of your gastrointestinal tract from becoming damaged. That protection, combined with a regular dietary intake of vitamin B12 and vitamin C, helps your body absorb iron (also found in green beans nutrition), which also impacts digestive health.
18. Prevents infections:
A number of vitamins like Niacin and Thiamine that are present in green beans are a good source of nutrients that help to prevent many infections in the body.
19. Maintains cell and body fluid:
Potassium content in green beans helps the body to maintain better cell production and body fluid movement.
How to Select and Store Green Beans
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, and that are free from brown spots or bruises. They should have a firm texture and “snap” when broken.
We encourage the purchase of certified organically grown foods, and green beans are no exception. Repeated research studies on organic foods as a group show that your likelihood of exposure to contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals can be greatly reduced through the purchased of certified organic foods, including green beans.
In many cases, you may be able to find a local organic grower who sells green beans but has not applied for formal organic certification either through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or through a state agency. (Examples of states offering state-certified organic foods include California, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.) However, if you are shopping in a large supermarket, your most reliable source of organically grown green beans is very likely to be green beans that display the USDA organic logo.
Store unwashed fresh beans pods in a plastic bag kept in the refrigerator crisper. Whole beans stored this way should keep for about seven days.
Here is some background on why we recommend refrigerating green beans. Whenever food is stored, four basic factors affect its nutrient composition: exposure to air, exposure to light, exposure to heat, and length of time in storage. Vitamin C, vitamin B6, and carotenoids are good examples of nutrients highly susceptible to heat, and for this reason, their loss from food is very likely to be slowed down through refrigeration.
Many people wonder about the possibility of freezing green beans, or purchasing green beans that have already been frozen. Both options can work—green beans are definitely a vegetable that can be frozen. We’ve seen several research studies on the nutritional consequences of freezing green beans, and most studies show the ability of green beans to retain valuable amounts of nutrients for 3-6 months after freezing. If you don’t have fresh green beans available on a year-round basis, purchasing frozen green beans can definitely provide you with a nutritionally valuable option.
If you wish to freeze green beans we recommend that you steam the green beans for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let them cool thoroughly before placing them in freezer bags and storing them in your freezer. It is good to remember that the passage of time appears to lessen the concentration of multiple nutrients. There appears to be less nutrient loss at 3 months than at 6 months, and you may want to limit your freezer storage of green beans (whether frozen at home or pre-purchased in frozen form) to about 3 months for this reason.
Tips for Preparing and Cooking Green Beans
Just prior to using the green beans, wash them under running water. Remove both ends of the beans by either snapping them off or cutting them with a knife.
The Nutrient-Rich Way of Cooking Green Beans
We recommend Quick Steaming green beans. We find that Quick Steaming green beans gives them maximum flavor.
Quick Steaming—similar to Quick Boiling and Healthy Sauté, our other recommended cooking methods—follows three basic cooking guidelines that are generally associated in food science research with improved nutrient retention. These three guidelines are: minimal necessary heat exposure; minimal necessary cooking duration; minimal necessary food surface contact with cooking liquid.
- Fill the bottom of a steamer pot with 2 inches of water. While waiting for the water to come to a boil, rinse green beans. It is best to cook green beans whole for even cooking. Steam for 7 minutes, checking tenderness with a fork, and toss with our Mediterranean Dressing and top with your favorite optional ingredients. For details see, .
Quick Serving Ideas For Green Beans
- Green beans are a classic ingredient in Salad Nicoise, a French cold salad dish that combines steamed green beans with tuna fish and potatoes.
- Healthy sauté green beans with shiitake mushrooms.
- Prepare the perennial favorite, green beans almondine, by sprinkling slivered almonds on healthy sautéed beans.
Recipes That Feature Green Beans
Marinated Bean Salad
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can green beans, drained
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can wax beans, drained
- 1 (15.5 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can black beans, drained
- 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup salad oil
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- Combine the green beans, wax beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, green pepper, onion, and celery in a large bowl; toss to mix.
- Whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar in a separate bowl until the sugar is dissolved; pour over the bean mixture. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight before serving.
5 Spice Chicken
- 1 (5 pound) whole chicken, cut in half
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 2 teaspoons hot chile paste (such as sambal oelek)
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce 1 teaspoon hot chile paste (such as sambal oelek)
- Score the skin side of each piece of chicken 2 to 3 times, about 1/8 inch deep.
- Whisk together the the juice of 1/2 lime, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, garlic, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar,
Chinese five-spice powder, 2 teaspoons hot chile paste, ginger, and soy sauce in a bowl. Pour into a resealable plastic bag. Add chicken, coat evenly with the marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal the bag. Marinate in refrigerator for 6 hours.
- Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate.
- Remove chicken halves from the bag and transfer to a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towels. Pat chicken pieces dry with more paper towels. Reserve marinade mixture in a small bowl.
- Whisk together the 1/3 cup rice vinegar, juice of 1/2 lime, 1 teaspoon fish sauce, and 1 teaspoon hot chile paste in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Grill chicken, skin-side down, on the preheated grill for 2 minutes. Turn each piece, brush with reserved marinade mixture, and move to indirect heat.
- Grill, brushing with glaze and turning ever 10-15 minutes, until well-browned and meat is no longer pink in the center, about 45 minutes total. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone, should read 180 degrees F (82 degrees C).
- Drizzle vinegar lime juice mixture over the chicken and serve.
7-Minute Green Beans
- 1 lb green beans
- Mediterranean Dressing
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
- 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 3 TBS goat cheese
- 2 TBS sliced almonds
- 4-5 drops soy sauce
- 1 TBS sliced sun dried tomatoes
- 2 TBS roasted red bell peppers
- 1 TBS chopped basil
- Chop or press garlic and let sit for at least 5 minutes.
- Fill the bottom of the steamer with 2 inches of water.
- While steam is building up in steamer, cut off the ends of the Green Beans that had been attached to the stem. I recommend cooking Green Beans whole and cutting into pieces after cooking.
- Steam, covered with a tight fitting lid, for 7 minutes or until tender. They are fork tender when they are done.
- Transfer to a bowl. For more flavor, toss Green Beans with the remaining ingredients while they are still hot. (Mediterranean Dressing does not need to be made separately.) Research shows that fat-soluble vitamins and carotenoids found in foods, such as Green Beans, may be better absorbed when consumed with fat-containing foods like extra virgin olive oil.
Fennel Green Beans
- 1 lb. haricots verts, trimmed
- Kosher salt
- black pepper
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1/3 c. fennel fronds, chopped
- 1/2 c. roasted almonds, chopped
- 2 tbsp. tarragon, chopped
- Cook beans in a large pot of salted water until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool; drain well.
- Whisk together oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Add beans, fennel and fennel fronds, almonds, and tarragon and toss to combine.
Green Bean Casserole Recipe
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 pound green beans, ends snapped
- 8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms
- 2¼ tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons paleo flour
- 1 cup organic goat milk or kefir
- ⅔ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup gluten-free crackers
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Fill a large pot with water and add 1 tablespoon of salt; bring water to a boil. Add green beans to boiling water and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until fork-tender.
- Drain the beans in a colander and immediately plunge them into an ice bath. Once cooled, drain the beans again and pat them dry with a kitchen towel or paper towels (don’t skip this part!). Set aside.
- Cut mushrooms into small pieces.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil; add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the cooked green beans and mushroom mixture to a lightly greased, 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Toss gently.
- To the same skillet used to cook the mushrooms, add 1 tablespoon oil and 2 tablespoons flour; heat over medium-high heat and whisk constantly for 1 minute. Slowly add the milk and continue whisking until all of the mixture is creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Add this roux to the green bean-mushroom mixture and gently toss to coat.
- Add the pumpkin seeds, Gluten-Free Crackers, and a pinch of salt to a blender or food processor; process by pulsing about 10 quick times. Top green bean-mushroom mixture with the pumpkin seed mixture.
- Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Garnish with whole pumpkin seeds before serving.
Lemon Pepper Green Beans Recipe
- 3 pounds fresh green beans
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
- black pepper to taste
- sea salt to taste
- In large skillet over med-high heat, stir-fry green beans and garlic in coconut oil or butter until crisp tender, about 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium; add lemon juice, lemon peel, pepper, and salt. Cover and let steam for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer to serving bowl and serve immediately.
What’s New and Beneficial about Green Beans
- We include green beans among our 38 profiled vegetables because most of our website visitors have become accustomed to seeing green beans in the produce section of their local store and treat green beans as a natural fit for the vegetable food group. In a more science-based context, however, green beans rightfully belong in the Beans & Legumes food group, are many aspects of their nutrient content are quite close to other foods in the Beans & Legumes family. For example, both green beans and other legumes provide concentrated amounts of fiber, folate, and numerous minerals. In this context, it is not surprising that a recent review study has included green beans among other legumes that have repeatedly shown the ability to lower our risk of chronic diseases. Included in the list of diseases are type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and metabolic syndrome.
- Our short steaming time for green beans is not always directly analyzed in research study protocols. (Those protocols often tend to “overcook” in comparison to our very short cooking times at WHFoods.) Although vegetable blanching typically involves direct submersion of vegetables in boiling or near-boiling water, blanching usually involves very brief submersion and we often like to look at blanching studies to get a better idea about the potential impact of our short cooking times, even if they involve steaming instead of boiling. We have seen one recent study on green beans that showed quick blanching—following by either refrigeration or freezing—to have no significant impact on the amount of beta-carotene in the green beans. By contrast, the same blanching process did end up lowering the beta-carotene in some other vegetables, including peas and carrots. Vitamins B2, C, and E in green beans were also found to be well retained in this quick blanching-plus-refrigeration study on green beans.
- Silicon is mineral that has yet to become fully woven into the field of nutrition. For example, Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) recommendations have yet to be created for silicon, and its average dietary intake in the U.S. has yet to be routinely analyzed. However, health scientists have identified a clear need for silicon in our bodies, primarily in support of our connective tissue and bones. For this reason, new research on silicon and food is always of interest to us, and two recent studies on green beans have caught our eye in this regard. Green beans are typically considered to be a silicon-rich food. Our 1-cup serving size of green beans would be expected to average about 7 milligrams of silicon. Since 20-30 milligrams appears to be a common average intake in the U.S. (and some other countries as well), the amount of silicon provided by 1 cup of steamed green beans would represent about 25-35% of an average day’s intake. Interestingly, the silicon in green beans appears to be fairly well absorbed, in the range of 25-50%. This range also appears to compare favorably with other silicon-containing foods. At least one set of researchers have speculated that somewhat higher levels of dietary silicon intake—in the vicinity of 40 milligrams per day—may have a preventive role to play in bone health. More specifically, they have suggested that the risk of osteoporosis in post-menopausal women might be lowered by dietary silicon intake in this higher-than-average range.
- Quick Steaming is our preferred method for cooking green beans. We use this approach to maximize flavor and to preserve the best texture as well. We’ve also learned from a recent study that the steaming of green beans may provide cholesterol-lowering benefits by binding together with bile acids. When the green bean components bind together with bile acids, the liver works to replace the bile acids by mobilizing cholesterol and breaking it down into bile acids. As a result, circulating levels of cholesterol in the blood stream get reduced. Interestingly, the study we reviewed showed greater bile acid binding ability from steamed green beans as compared to raw green beans.
- Because of their rich green color, we don’t always think about green beans as providing us with important amounts of colorful pigments like carotenoids. But they do! Recent studies have confirmed the presence of lutein, beta-carotene, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin in green beans. In some cases, the presence of these carotenoids in green beans is comparable to their presence in other carotenoid-rich vegetables like carrots and tomatoes. The only reason we don’t see these carotenoids is because of the concentrated chlorophyll content of green beans and the amazing shades of green that it provides.
How to Use and Cook Green Beans
The best way to get green beans is to find them loose at a local farmers market where you can buy organic. Choose green beans with a smooth texture and vibrant green color, free from brown spots and bruising. Good green beans are firm and should make a “snapping” sound when opened. You can keep unwashed, fresh green beans in a plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper for about seven days.
Green beans may also be frozen and still maintain a lot of their nutritional value. You can freeze the fresh beans you purchase for up to six months without decreasing their nutrition, although green beans nutrition at three months does start to decline somewhat by the time they get to six months frozen. It’s a good idea to steam the fresh green beans, allow them to cool and dry, then place them in the freezer. You can also purchase frozen green beans if buying fresh isn’t always an option.
When using green beans for cooking, run them under cold water, then snap or cut off the ends. One of the most common methods of preparation is to steam your green beans.
Green Beans Side Effects
Green beans are one of those foods with extremely few risk factors, but there are always certain things to be wary of.
Phytates – Phytic acid is present in green beans and can contribute to nutrient deficiencies when consumed in excess. Phytic acid binds with calcium, zinc, and other important minerals and does not allow them to be absorbed by the body. Although the phytate levels in green beans are relatively low, if you suffer from other conditions that cause a mineral deficiency, the addition of more phytic acid may not be the best choice for you. Also, cooking or soaking beans significantly reduces amounts of phytic acid, so just avoid eating them raw if you are concerned about phytate levels.
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