You know we LOVE food at Hammertown. We include a recipe every week in our Newsletter and our website and this time of year we especially like to feature recipes that use fresh, healthy, seasonal produce from our local farms, farmers markets, CSA’s and even our own gardens.
So…from now through the Fall harvest we’ll be highlighting a seasonal veggie (or fruit) of the week along with a recipe (or recipes) using that ingredient. This week it’s Tender Beans…(also called String Beans, Snap Beans, French Beans)
Growing Green Beans
Green bean varieties come in bush and pole types. Both bush and pole beans have dozens of cultivars, from broad, meaty Roma types to thin and delicate French filet beans (haricorts verts). Pods can be round or flat, and come in multiple colors: green, purple, yellow, or mottled.
Pole Bean varieties can grow 8-10 feet, and need a trellis or something to climb on for support. Pole beans are more flavorful and more productive than many bush bean varieties. They’re called “pole beans” because one popular way to grow them is in “teepees” made of bamboo poles or branches.Just like it sounds, Bush Beans grow like bushes, up to about 2 ft tall. When properly spaced, the plants grow together and support each other. They come in a week or two earlier than pole beans, but produce fewer green beans.
Selection and storage
Raw fresh green beans, should be tender, long, stiff, but flexible and give snap sound when broken. Avoid limp or over matured beans with tough skin. To store, place them in a perforated plastic bag and keep inside the refrigerator set at high relative humidity. They keep well for up to a week.
Preparation and serving methods
Wash raw beans in cold water. Just before using, remove the strings and trim the ends.
NOTE: We grew purple beans for the first time this year and interestingly, when you cook them, they turn green! They taste great but if you want your beans to keep their purple color, either serve them raw or slightly blanched.
GREEN BEAN RECIPES ON OUR WEBSITE:
NUTRITION INFO/HEALTH BENEFITS
Health benefits of Green Beans
- Fresh green beans are very low in calories (31 calories per 100 g of raw bean pods) and contain no saturated fat. Nevertheless, these lean pod vegetables are a very good source of vitamins, minerals, and plant derived micronutrients.
- The beans are very rich source of dietary fiber (9% per 100g RDA) which acts as a bulk laxative. Fiber helps to protect mucousa in the colon by decreasing its exposure time to toxic substances as well as by binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the gut. Adequate amount of fiber has also been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels by decreasing reabsorption of cholesterol-binding bile acids in the colon.
- Green beans contain excellent levels of vitamin A, and health promoting flavonoid poly phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin and A-carotene in good amounts. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
- Zea-xanthin, an important dietary carotenoid in the beans, selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eyes where it thought to provide antioxidant and protective UV-light filtering functions. It is, therefore, green beans offer some protection in the prevention of age-related macular disease (ARMD) in the elderly.
- Snap beans are a good source of folates. 100 g fresh beans provide 37 Aµg or 9% of folates. Folate along with vitamin B-12 is one of the essential components of DNA synthesis and cell division. Good folate diet when given during preconception periods and during pregnancy may help prevent neural-tube defects in the newborn babies.
- They also carry good amounts of vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), thiamin (vitamin B-1), and vitamin-C. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.
- In addition, beans contain healthy amounts of minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium, which are very essential for body metabolism. Manganese is a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase, which is a very powerful free radical scavenger. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.