Season: June to October
Description: Green beans are a source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Vitamin C helps protect skin from bruising, helps heal cuts and keeps gums healthy. Eating foods with vitamin C boosts absorption of iron. Green beans also provide potassium, vitamin K, magnesium and fiber. Potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure, vitamin K and magnesium help build and maintain strong bones, and fiber helps control cholesterol and keeps bowels movements regular.
Vitamins: Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium, Magnesium, Fiber
Selection: Choose beans with a vivid color, velvety feel and firm texture. When broken they should snap crisply. Do not buy beans that are limp, oversized, split, or have rust spots or scars. If the seeds are bulging inside the pod, they are too mature.
Storing: In a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper. They will stay fresh 3 to 5 days.
Preparation: Clean the beans, then snap or trim off the stem. Leave the beans whole for cooking or snap them into 1- to 2-inch lengths.
Serving: Lightly saute minced onion, garlic or sliced mushrooms in a little margarine or oil. Add cooked green beans and toss until coated. To blanch or boil, bring water to a boil and drop in a handful of beans. Cook 3 to 8 minutes or until desired doneness. Drain and serve while the beans are still crisp and tender. To microwave, place a pound of beans in a microwave-safe dish with 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook on high power for 5 to 10 minutes. Stir-fry green beans in 1 teaspoon oil for every cup of beans cut in 2-inch pieces. Cook for 2 minutes until crisp and tender.