Green beans, also known as string beans, snap beans, or French beans, are the immature pods of bean plants, picked before the dry bean has a chance to grow inside. Today, the green bean has been bred into over 130 varieties that are grown throughout North America, South America, and Europe.

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History

The green bean originated in Central America and was cultivated in Mexico and Peru for thousands of years before European invaders brought it back to Europe. By the 17th century, the green bean was being grown all over the Mediterranean region.

Nutrition

Green beans are high in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folic acid and fiber.

Storage

Unwashed, untrimmed green beans can be stored in a reusable container in the refrigerator crisper for up to 7 days.

Preparation

Green beans add flavor, nutrition, texture, and color to any dish. Add whole or segmented green beans into soups, curries, pasta sauces, stir-fries, and casseroles. Roast whole green beans or blister them in a cast-iron skillet with plenty of olive oil, garlic, and parmesan. Steamed, chilled and salted green beans are a delicious addition to salads and grain bowls. They can also be served raw with your favorite veggie dip, or pickled with sugar, spices, and herbs into “dilly beans.”

Cooking

Wash green beans dry thoroughly, and trim ends. Toss in flour until dusted all over, dip into beaten egg, then coat in a mixture of panko and Parmesan. Spread in a single layer on a greased baking sheet, and roast at 425 degrees until the coating begins to brown. Season with salt, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes, and serve hot.

Pro Tips

To get your green beans perfectly al dente, cook them the way you would cook pasta: drop into already boiling water with a pinch of salt added. Boil for 8 to 10 minutes, remove immediately from the water, and rinse with cold water or plunge into an ice bath for a few seconds to stop the cooking process. Beans will be brilliant green.

Purple Beans

The intense purple color of these heirloom beans comes from a plant pigment called anthocyanin (the same compound in red cabbage and purple cauliflower). This pigment is susceptible to heat and light, resulting in color loss when the bean is cooked. To preserve as much of the color as possible, minimize cooking time or briefly soak the beans in lemon juice before cooking.

Yellow Beans

Known alternatively as “wax beans,” these yellow beans have far less chlorophyll than the green bean, a feature that also gives them a sweeter taste.

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