25 May 2007

Glorious Green Beans

Green beans, or string beans as they are often called, are a very nutritious addition to any meal. Modern green bean varieties are more tender and do not have the "stringyness" of old varieties.

They, with other bean varieties, originated in the Americas and were introduced to Europe by the early Spanish explorers.

Green beans are an excellent source of manganese and vitamins C and K. They are a good source of vitamin A via their beta-carotene content, iron, folate, dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, calcium, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, copper and phosphorous. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids. Low in calories and high in fiber they are an excellent diet food.

The combination of vitamin C and the beta-carotene in the beans makes them an excellent natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. On the down side, green beans contain oxalates and should be eaten with caution by those with untreated kidney or gallbladder problems.

When purchasing, look for organic, blemish free, green beans which are firm and snap when broken. Store unwashed in a plastic bag or container in the fridge. They will keep up to a week in the fridge without losing any of their nutrients. Green beans are also readily available frozen and canned. You can also bottle, dry or freeze them yourself.

Fresh green beans are wonderful steamed or stir fried for a few minutes or even raw in salads. They can also be curried, pickled or added to stews and casseroles. Wash and prepare at the last minute so as to preserve their nutrients and never overcook as it will cause them to discolor.

Wanting to grow your own green beans ? Garden and Hearth have a quick guide to growing them.

Oriental Green Bean Salad
From "The Arabian Delights Cookbook" by Anne Marie Weiss-Armush (available at

1 lb green beans, fresh or frozen (cut into pieces, or French-cut)
2 onions, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 serrano chili, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
juice of 2 lemons

If you are using fresh beans, steam them until crispy-tender. Drain. Sauté the onions in the olive oil until softened and transparent. Add the drained fresh green beans or the frozen beans and the chili, stirring to mix well. Sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the water and the salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and steam for about 7 minutes, until the beans are tender. Uncover and raise the heat to evaporate as much of the water as possible. Toss with the lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Quick Pickled Green Beans
From Crescent City Farmers Market - New Orlenes

2 pounds fresh green beans
2 cups water
2 cups cider vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar
4 tsp dill seeds, crushed
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, crushed

Wash beans; trim ends, and remove strings. Place beans into a large saucepan of boiling water, cook 5 mins. Drain and plunge beans into ice water; drain again. Place beans in a large shallow, nonmetal dish; set aside.
Combine 2 cups water and next 7 ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Pour mixture over beans; cover and marinate in refrigerator 8 hours, stirring occasionally. (Can be stored in refrigerator up to 1 week,
stirring occasionally.) Serves 8.



Anonymous said...


This is simply delicious! So simple yet healthy, my wife absolutely loves your recipes.

Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

great recipes, Thanks!

aTxVegn said...

Yummy! I used to hate green beans that my mom heated from a can. Then I had my grandmother's green beans from her garden and they tasted completely different - good! I still hate canned beans, but I love the fresh ones!

Anonymous said...

Love this post because one of my favorite salads is a green bean salad, especially in the hot summer months. I'll have to try some of your recipes when our summer markets open and I can get fresh green beans.

Marion said...

I planted green beans yesterday, Jackie...I hope to have a bumper crop if the weather holds warm and sunny.

But it's blowing and wild outside this morning, so I guess we'll see!

Sweet and sour beans and carrots is one of my favourite ways to have them; now I also have your recipes to try! Thank you!

Mihl said...

Your last two posts were about two of my favourite vegetables. Thanks for collecting all the info and writing about them.

bazu said...

I need to get creative with green beans- the recipes you've posted sound so interesting!

Anonymous said...

I have such fond memories of my mom's pickled green beans. I've been meaning to look up a recipe for them for quite some time now and now I don't have to.

Urban Vegan said...

I adore the combo of lemons and green beans, as in your Arabian salad. I also like tossing in a little fresh lemon rind.

Dori said...

My green beans are just starting to poke through in my garden, I'm looking forward to eating some! I think green beans are probably my favorite veggie, broccoli second.

david santos said...

Today it is the World-wide day of the children.