Cooking Healthy with Green Beans

I will never forget the spring I spent in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Every local family had a big crop of green beans ready for its first round of harvest in May. Friends would rotate from garden to garden helping to harvest and can bushels of green beans. It was treated like a social celebration and reason to get together to do something constructive that felt so fulfilling once done. There is nothing like seeing rows and rows of canned green beans ready to be stored for the winter months.

After reading our nutritional profile on green beans I was left with a much greater appreciation for what the local people knew they needed to keep themselves healthy during the winter months. If there was one vegetable to have on hand it is green beans. It is loaded with nutrients, rich in minerals that is energizing and immune building, and antioxidant properties. It truly deserves the title of super food.

I use to like blanching beans because this method retained a bright color and I could control the amount of doneness to perfection. However, I came to realize that after beans were submerged in ice water it sealed them and they no longer allowed the flavors of the dish to penetrate them. They looked great, but had no taste. It was like the flavor just bounced right off them. So now I prefer to lightly steam them. I remove them from the steamer while they are still crisp inside, and pat dry with a paper towel while they are still hot. Then I add them to my salads or dish with dressings. By still being warm at this point they are open to receiving the flavors and blend with the rest of the ingredients in the dish. Our Marinated Bean Salad is a great example of this way of cooking beans.

This page was updated on: 2002-11-22 07:42:55
© 2002 The George Mateljan Foundation