Green Beans Aren't Always Green

Beans can be quite confusing: beans, legumes, peas, lentils. They can be divided into two main groups: those that can be eaten pod and all, called snap or green beans, and others that are shelled for their seeds and eaten either fresh, dried, called shell or dried beans.  Green beans, not always green, are the unripe, immature pods of the most tender bean varieties, and are entirely edible.

Green beans, also called snap beans because of the sound their pods make when broken, are called string beans if they have a fibrous string that runs down the side.  Most of our green beans today are stringless.   There are dozens of varieties of green beans and are the most commonly planted type of bean: haricot vert, scarlet runner, winged, and yard-long bean.  Green beans are not always green;  they can also be yellow or purple.  Yellow beans are sometimes called was beans for their waxy color.

One cup of beans has only 31 calories. High in vitamins A and C, a cup of raw snap beans can provide about 17 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin A and about 27 percent of vitamin C. Folate is present in snap beans as well and they are very rich source of dietary fiber and many minerals.

How to prepare them?  Always thoroughly wash your produce.  I have both a spray and a liquid.  I use the liquid for soaking, such as lettuce or green beans.  Trim the beans by snapping off the stem of stringless beans, quicker yet, bundle them and trim all at once using a Chef's knife.  There is no need to cut the curled in.  Your beans are now ready be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, blanched is my favorite way, with olive oil and fresh garlic.  You can add beans to just about anything and chopping them gives them more versatility.