Green beans get two thumbs up for their vitamin K content. One-half cup (125 ml) of cooked green beans (a Food Guide serving) provides 15 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K. This nutrient plays a vital role in blood clotting but may also help keep your bones strong as you age. A 2000 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that low dietary vitamin K intakes increased the incidence of hip fractures in elderly men and women. In 2003, another study revealed that women who consumed the least vitamin K had an increased risk of hip fracture than their peers who consumed the most.
Green beans are also a source of vitamins A and C, manganese and fibre. Any they're low in calories - one half cup delivers less than 25 calories and only 1 gram of fat.
Nutrient information per 1/2 cup (125 ml) serving of cooked green beans:
|Vitamin C||6.4 mg|
|Vitamin K||10.6 mcg|
|Vitamin A||23 mcg|
Green beans are known by a few different names, including string beans, snap beans and French beans. Haricots verts, the French name for green beans, may also be used to describe a variety of the bean that's longer and more slender than the typical North American green bean.
While they don't look anything alike, green beans are from the same family as shell beans, including kidney beans and black beans. The most obvious difference is that the green bean's entire pod and seed can be eaten, unlike its cousins.
There are over 130 varieties of green beans that are differentiated into two main groups: bush beans and pole beans. Bush beans grow on short, low-growing bushes, while pole beans climb as they grow. Pod colour can range from green, yellow to purple, while shape can range from long and thin, to short and wide.
Regardless of their name, the most common varieties of green beans are known for their long, thin shape and vibrant emerald green colour.
Gone are the days that you could only buy fresh green beans. Now you can also enjoy them canned or frozen year round.
According to Foodland Ontario, fresh green beans are at their peak in Ontario from June to October.
When buying fresh green beans look for those that are brightly coloured with unblemished skin. Fresh green beans should be crisp enough that when you bend them in half they snap apart.
Avoid beans with pods that are bulging out of the side of the bean. This is an indication that the beans were picked too late and, as a result, they will be tough. If possible, buy green beans that are sold loosely so you can sort through them and choose beans with the best quality. Avoid beans that are brown, bruised or blemished.
Green beans can also be frozen, which means you can stock up on them in the summer and fall when they're at their peak and least expensive. To freeze green beans, drop them in boiling water for a minute or two, drain and then rinse under cold water. Store in an airtight freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Green beans require very little preparation. Simply rinse beans under cool running water to remove any dirt or grit and then snap or cut off the ends of the bean before cooking.
Green beans are incredibly versatile when it comes to preparation. Whether you prefer to steam, boil, microwave or stir-fry green beans, you can't go wrong. Depending on how crisp you like them, they only need to be cooked for a few minutes.
Keep in mind that cooking green beans with acidic ingredients, such as lemon juice or tomatoes, may cause them to lose their vibrant green colour and turn a drab, pale green. You can avoid this by adding beans to such dishes near the end of cooking time.
If boiled green beans are the only way you've enjoyed this vegetable, it's time to broaden your horizons. From soups and stews to salads and casseroles, green beans can wear many different hats in the kitchen. They pair surprising well with nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, and are delicious with a hint of ground nutmeg.
Healthy ways to enjoy
Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_bean
With thanksgiving just around the corner, we decided to pay homage to a vegetable worthy of a place on your festive dinner plate: green beans. Affordable, nutritious and easy to prepare, it's hard to beat the culinary versatility that green beans offer.
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