A Main Staple of the Human Diet: Green Beans!

Green Beans have been an important part of the human diet for thousands of years.

In fact, the Bible makes reference to Green Bean consumption, and Green Beans have even been found in pre-Columbian tombs and the Egyptian pyramids. It’s been said that the Egyptians had temples dedicated to green beans, worshipping them as a symbol of life.

Most historians agree that Green Beans are probably native to ancient Peru. From there, they were no doubt introduced throughout the world by soldiers who carried them as a staple of their diet as they fought ancient wars.

America Welcomes Green Beans

The American bean story begins long before Columbus discovered America, with the American Indians as far south as Florida and as far north as the Red River Valley. As a result, by the late 1800’s, American bean production had begun in earnest. Initially centered in Michigan, by World War I the demand for bean products had attracted new growers in Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming.

Green Bean Nutrition Information

Green Beans are a good source of fiber and vitamin C and also contain calcium, magnesium, zinc and Vitamin A. Also is a source of folate which supports DNA synthesis and new cell formation.

Using Green Beans

You can cook green beans many ways, but whatever method you use, do not over cook. Otherwise, they will lose their brilliant color and crisp-tender bite.

The most enhancing seasonings for green beans are dill, curry powder, lemon juice, marjoram, oregano, tarragon and thyme.

Add green beans to stews, chili and soups toward the end of cooking for a crunchy, fresh, green vegetable. Add blanched green beans to a raw vegetable platter or a fresh green salad for a change of pace.

  • Lightly saute minced onion, garlic or sliced mushrooms in a little margarine or oil. Add cooked green beans and toss until coated.
  • Lightly brush with butter or margarine and sprinkle with flavoring such as grated Parmesan, basil, dill, lemon juice, chopped peanuts or almonds.
  • Add a little cooked, crumbled bacon, diced ham or chopped hard-cooked egg.
  • Add undiluted cream of mushroom soup. Reheat. Garnish with crisp-fried onions.

To Blanch or Boil Green Beans:

Wash and trim beans. Put beans in saucepan and cover with water. Remove beans and set side. Bring water to a boil, and drop beans, one handful at a time, into water so that the water continues to boil. Cook to the desired doneness, 3 to 8 minutes. Drain and serve while the beans are still crisp-tender, or add them to another dish for further cooking.

To Steam Green Beans:

Wash and trim beans. Bring an inch of water to a boil and place steamer basket with beans over the water. Cover and steam 3 to 7 minutes to desired tenderness.

To Stir-fry Green Beans:

Wash and cut beans into 2-inch lengths. Heat 1 teaspoon oil for every cup of beans. Stir-fry in hot oil 2 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. If you wish, cover for a minute or so to reach desired doneness.

Georgian Green Beans Recipe

  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chicken broth
    Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Place green beans in the water, and cook about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and drain in a colander. Place under cold water until no longer hot. Drain, and pat dry.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until onion is tender. Melt remaining butter in the skillet, and mix in the green beans. Stir in the vinegar and broth. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in cilantro. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, or until green beans are tender. Yield: 10 servings

Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 66; Total Fat: 3.6g; Cholesterol: 9mg; Sodium: 65mg;Total Carbohydrates: 8.1g; Dietary Fiber: 3.4g; Protein: 2g

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