Nutrition Fun Facts: Mature green beans belong to the legume family and are considered common beans along with black, pinto, kidney and garbanzo beans. Green beans are harvested when the beans are immature and eaten primarily for their crunchy pod rather than their seeds (3). Although green beans are technically a legume, they have more in common with vegetables nutritionally. Green beans are low in calories and a good source of fiber and vitamin C. While fiber helps to regulate bowel movements and makes our stomachs feel full, vitamin C sustains the immune system and cells. (2)
Storage Tips: Place unwashed green beans in a storage container in the refrigerator crisper for up to 7 days. To prolong storage, green beans can also be frozen or canned. Green beans retain the most nutrients when frozen. Before freezing, green beans should be blanched in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, submerged in an ice bath and transferred into freezer bags. (1)
Preparation Tips: Green beans can be consumed raw, blanched, boiled, pressured cooked, roasted, steamed, stir-fried, stewed, and sautéed. To best retain their nutritional value, cook green beans whole rather than cut (1). Remove the stems, tips and strings prior to cooking. Try sautéing garlic, onion or bacon in a pan with a secure fitting lid. Add green beans, ¼ cup of stock or broth and cover with lid. Allow to steam for 3-7 minutes until tender. Toss with toasted nuts, sautéed mushrooms, or your favorite vinaigrette. For more inspiration, click here.
Recipe: Pickled Dilly Beans
2 ½ pounds fresh green beans
2 ½ ups apple cider or distilled white vinegar
2 cups water
¼ cup pickling or sea salt
1 garlic clove per pint
1 bunch fresh dill, or ½ tsp dill seed per pint
¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1. Sterilize 4 (pint) jars with rings and lids and keep hot. Trim green beans to ¼ inch shorter than your jars.
2. In a large saucepan, stir together the vinegar, water and salt. Add garlic and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. In each jar, place 1 sprig of dill and 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Pack green beans into the jars so they are standing on their ends.
3.Ladle the boiling brine into the jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the tops. Discard garlic. Seal jars with lids and rings. Place in a hot water bath so they are covered by 1 inch of water. Simmer but do not boil for 10 minutes to process. Cool to room temperature. Test jars for a good seal by pressing on the center of the lid. It should not move. Refrigerate any jars that do not seal properly. Let pickles ferment for 2 to 3 weeks before eating.
2. “Green beans.” Fruits and Vegetables- More Matters.<http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/green-beans>
3. "Green Beans" World's Healthiest Foods <http://whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=134>