Featured Vegetable: Green Beans
Green beans, string beans, snap beans—what’s the difference? There is actually no difference at all. So, how did one bean get three different names?
- Green is obvious—its color!
- String alludes to this veggie’s past—early varieties had a string-like fiber that ran the length of the bean, forming a seam. Today, most green beans lack this fiber.
- Snap! The sound they make when you break one in half.
Not only do these beans have multiple names, they also grow in a variety of colors including yellow, red, green and purple.1
Warm Weather Warriors
Green beans originated in the warm climates of southern Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. Grown over 8,000 years ago, these beans have been hanging around for a long time!1 Green beans are considered an edible pod bean because you can eat the whole thing, unlike shell beans. They grow as either bush beans or pole beans, which grow as a climbing vine.
Green beans are one of the only beans that are often eaten fresh. They can be picked right from the plant and enjoyed immediately, just be sure to wash them first. This makes green beans a perfect on-the-go snack! There’s no peeling, slicing, or cooking needed. You can tell when they are fresh and ready for picking if you bend a bean and it snaps in half.2
What’s so great about these little green guys?
One cup of green beans provides an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A and dietary fiber. These nutrient-dense, fiber-containing beans are also low in calories, with only 32 calories per cup.3 Green beans are a nutritious and delicious way to add to your recommended daily intake of vegetables! 4
Don’t Spill the Beans: Store Them Properly
As summer begins to wind down, available fresh local produce and homegrown vegetables become sparser, but there are ways to enjoy your local and homegrown veggies all year. If you grow your own green beans or buy them fresh, they can be frozen or canned and stored for up to one year. Other options are canned and frozen green beans, which are available all year long. When choosing canned, opt for those with no salt added to reduce sodium intake.
The options are endless when preparing green beans. Serve them raw or blanched on a vegetable tray to add some bright green color to the mix, along with a Bolthouse Farms® dressing for dipping! Add them to a vegetable stir fry, or cook and serve them as a side dish. The possibilities don’t stop there.
For green bean-goodness’ sake! Three little words cannot be forgotten when discussing these beans: Green Bean Casserole – a Campbell classic. Visit Campbell’s Kitchen® for a Lighter Green Bean Casserole, featuring Campbell’s® Healthy Request® Condensed Cream of Mushroom soup.
Check out these additional nutritious recipes to use your green, string, snap – whatever you want to call them – beans!
Looking for more tips or recipes for preparing green beans?
Check out Fruits and Veggies—More Matters®.
- Harvest of the Month. Idaho State Department of Education.
http://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/cnp/ffvp/fruit_veg/Green%20Bean.pdf.2007. Accessed May 24, 2014.
- Green Beans: Nutrition. Selection. Storage. Fruits and Veggies More Matters.
http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/green-beans.2014. Accessed May 23, 2014.
- National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. United States Department of Agriculture.
http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2903?fg=&man=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=&qlookup=green+beans. 2014. Accessed May 23, 2014.
- Vegetables. United State Department of Agriculture: Choose MyPlate.gov.
http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/vegetables.html. 2014. Accessed May 24, 2014.