Green beans are fun to eat because they’re so munchable! At HealthBarn USA, kids love plucking a fresh green bean off the plant delicately and nibbling on it right in our organic garden. They’re super sweet and crisp! And better yet, they’re oh-so-healthy! One cup of raw green beans is an excellent source of vitamins C and K, plus a good source of vitamin A, the B vitamin Folate, the mineral manganese and dietary fiber, too!
Green bush beans grow on a bush (hence the name) low to the ground. They have an edible pod, which holds several small pea-like beans that, when dried, are the seeds for the plant. Green bean seeds are planted in early spring, and are harvested 2-3 months later, meaning it’s just about time to start seeing green beans at the local farmers’ market. We planted our green beans a few weeks ago and they are starting to sprout in the garden–so exciting! You want to pick green beans before the pod bulges from the beans inside, so choose ones that are long, narrow, and even throughout.
When green beans are fresh, they’re perfect without much in the way of cooking or dressing. A quick steam and a splash of lemon juice, and you have a great, simple, low fat side for dinner. Chop them up and use them in green salads or grain salads or add them to basil pesto pasta for a little extra crunch. We like to sauté them in sesame oil until they are likely browned, then sprinkle sesame seeds with a pinch of sea salt and you have delicious green bean fries!
– Stacey Antine, MS, RD, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, co-host, Family Food Expert Internet Radio Show, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA.