Green Beans: So Good for You

Margaret Boyles

String beans. Green beans. Snap beans. Not only are they healthy for your body but also they give back to the soil!

Whatever you call ‘em, green beans are the immature form of the common kidney-shaped bean, Phaseolus vulgaris, harvested before beans begin forming inside the pods.

Modern varieties of this native American vegetable no longer have “strings” down the sides of the pods that need to be pulled off before eating.

Green Beans Health Benefits

Not only are green beans a nice, crunchy, low-calorie food but also they provide many key nutrients.Young, tender green beans are a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin K and silicon (needed for healthy bones, skin, and hair).

They’re also easy to grow, with the added bonus of improving the soil they grow in because of their ability to “fix” nitrogen from the air in nodules attached to the bean roots. When the nodulated bean roots decompose, they liberate the nitrogen to become available for the next year’s crop planted in that spot.

Most of green beans' energy is stored within the seed!  Without even using fertilizer, green beans have enough food to nourish them until their first true leaves appear.

See how to grow green beans.

Picking and Cooking With Green Beans

Fresh, locally grown green beans are easy to find in the summer. A green bean at its peak should have vivid color, a firm texture, and make that unmistakable "snap" when broken.

If you have a surplus or find them sold in bulk at a farmers’ market, they also freeze well, especially if you harvest them while slender and freeze them whole.

For around $25, you can buy a neat little hand-cranked gadget called a “bean frencher” that slices fatter beans lengthwise. I think the frenched beans taste better fresh or frozen than those chopped into short lengths.

Green beans go into just about any kind of salad, soup, or casserole. As a side dish, I especially like them sauteed with garlic in a little olive oil, then served hot or cold topped with toasted walnuts, almonds, sesame, or pumpkin seeds.

Pickled “dilly beans” are an old-timey favorite. Some people like them more than dilled cucumber pickles.


Green Bean Recipes

Here are a few more ways to use those fresh green beans!

Potato Salad With Green Beand and Chicken

Green Bean Salad

Asian-Style Green Beans

Green Bean and Basil Soup

Pickled Green Beans

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Comments

Mike (not verified)

4 months 2 weeks ago

My grand paw use to use a cast iron skillet and melt some bacon grease then throw in a canned jar of green beans (no juice) and fry them until they turned a darker color and shrivel up. Good eating. From the hills of NC.

Denise (not verified)

5 months 2 weeks ago

I'm not one for toiling over a complicated recipe or smothering my main ingredients with so many other ingredients that you don't taste the main event. So here are two ways to fix string beans that meet the criteria.
Growing up, we ate string beans sautéed in butter (I think my mom would par-boil them first to get them a little soft?) then she would add crumbled Ritz crackers to the sauté at the end. Simple and yummy, even for kids! (Of course we loved the buttery Ritz the best, but the string beans went down too.)
Now, my favorite way to fix them is to sauté them in olive oil with fresh garlic and ginger. Then add some light (low salt) soy sauce and cook them until your desired tenderness. I always make a huge batch of these, because this is one of those dishes that tastes better leftover. I even eat them cold, like a marinated salad.

Amy (not verified)

1 year 4 months ago

My Favorite big pan of green beans ham hock with new taters and when they are almost done add some yellow squash mmmmmm one of my summer time fav's