Beans are well known as a vegetable high in protein, fiber, and other nutrients while being low in total calories. A one cup serving of green beans has only 25 calories, 1 grams of protein, and 4 grams of carbohydrates, 2 of which are fiber. Beans are a rich source of vitamin K and C, as well as a slew of other micronutrients .
Beans, a type of legume, can be broadly classified as either pole or bush. As their names suggest, pole beans grow as vines guided by tendrils that wrap around poles, trellises, or other plants, while bush beans grow into short, squat bushes. As they both belong to the same species (Phaseolus vulgaris), these varieties represent centuries of human breeding . Evidence for the continued breeding of this plant lies in the fact that green beans used to be called string beans because of the fibrous husk that all green beans used to have. This trait was bred out of most bean varieties in the late 1800s, and most beans found nowadays are of the “string-less” or “snap” variety .
Some types of beans grown on the farm include the red noodle bean (Vigna unguiculata) and the common green bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). The red noodle bean is related to black-eyed peas; both are types of cowpea, one of the first domesticated plants . Green beans are a different breed of the same species as kidney, pinto, black, and wax beans. Both of these types of beans grown on the farm are crispy and sweet when eaten raw, but the laves are toxic. Additionally the beans of other common types like kidney beans are toxic unless boiled for 30 minutes .
Snap beans for eating raw should be refrigerated in a plastic bag for 3-5 days to maintain freshness. They can be blanched and frozen or canned for more lengthy preservation .
Snap beans are quite versatile! They make a great snack eaten raw, or you can cook them into a stir-fry, curry, soup, or casserole. They can be grilled, pickled, or canned in a pressure canner. Here are some recipes for fresh green beans.
- “Phaseolus vulgaris“. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 9/10/2018.
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- “Bad Bug Book (2012)” (pdf). Foodborne Pathogenic Microorganisms and Natural Toxins Handbook: Phytohaemagglutinin. Food and Drug Administration. 2012. Retrieved 9/10/2018.
- “Red Noodle Bean” from: https://www.rareseeds.com/assets/1/14/DimRegular/chinese-red-noodle.jpg