#GoodFoodSeries – Green Beans

“Green Beans,” watercolor.

The common bean, Phaseolus vulgaris, is the ancestor that has given us green beans, kidney beans, and other bean varieties. Thousands of years ago, the common bean originated in what is now known as Central/South America. It spread across this region thanks to Indigenous people, and later C.Columbus spread it to Europe for trading during his “exploration” (re: study to prepare for conquest). This was a great crop to cultivate across the globe though since it can grow in a variety of climates.

Amongst the common bean–green beans in particular, they come in a variety of colors and types. Here’s what The Spruce Eats has to say about the varieties:

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Green beans, string beans, wax beans, and snap beans are all, essentially, the same thing. Little differences, mainly in color and shape, separate one type from another.

[The types are as follows:]

  1. Green Beans (aka String Beans or Snap Beans)
  2. Haricots Verts (aka French Green Beans or Filet Beans)
  3. Long Beans
  4. Purple String Beans
  5. Romano Beans (aka Italian Green Beans or Flat Beans)
  6. Wax Beans [1]

Green Beans Nutrition Label. Created by Keanna.

Green beans also offer many nutritional benefits to its consumers. They are considered a superfood because it supports cardiovascular health (thanks to its high fiber, folate, and mineral content). Also loaded with antioxidants, green beans are an aid to the immune system.

Get your bean fix asap! And remember: fresh green beans are always the best option. There’s added prep time with these since they’re not coming out of a frozen bag or can, but totally worth it when you can take the time to do it. And if you ask me, they taste better too. Check your local grocery store in the fresh produce section for loose green beans and bag ’em up to take home for an amazing dish.

Speaking of amazing dishes, check out this one that’s also featured in the cookbook Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family,” by mother-and-daughter pair Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams. What a neat way to honor the history of soul cuisine in a healthy manner. In the book, and also featured in Southern Living Mag is a recipe for Fiery Green Beans, credited to a Black Nashville, TN chef who inspired the authors to share this recipe with the world. If you’re looking for a way to jazz up your green bean experience, get the recipe here.

Photo: Penny de los Santos

[1] “Guide to Beans from Green to Purple to Varieties,” The Spruce Eats.

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