The Foodie

green beans

What’s Fresh in Mid-August: Green Beans

August 16, 2009
by findingDulcinea Staff
As summer starts to wind down, green beans make for light, healthy dishes with bright colors and crunchy textures. Many people also cure green beans in order to eat them year round.

Green Beans

Also known as string or snap beans, green beans are piled high this time of year in markets around the country. Stephanie Witt Sedgwick of The Washington Post recommends buying the beans seasonally and locally: “[they have] a sweet taste, without the bitterness of beans grown elsewhere and shipped here.” She adds that they cook faster, have a better texture and cost less in late summer. Sedgwick even solves the mystery of the grayish color common to overcooked green beans. To prevent murky-looking veggies in your kitchen, cook beans in salted water for no more than seven minutes and avoid adding vinegar or lemon juice, as their acidity causes discoloration.
Low in calories, but high in vitamins, green beans are a great way to help your body while still satisfying your taste buds. Green beans contain high levels of vitamin K, to keep bones strong, and are an excellent source of iron, which is essential for energy production. Green beans would be a good choice for anyone diagnosed with anemia, as the condition is often linked to iron deficiencies. The World’s Healthiest Foods provides a detailed report on the vegetable’s health benefits, detailing how it can help your heart and support your immune system.

Sure, green bean casserole has become an institution on the Thanksgiving table, but who really wants to dig through a swamp of sodium-laden canned soup and fried “onions” to find a pile of limp, soggy green beans? Go simpler (and tastier) by trying out the Smitten Kitchen’s Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad, adapted from locavore chef Alice Waters’s recipe at Chez Panisse. Light, herby vinaigrette gently coats tender green beans tossed with plump, bite-sized tomatoes.

Looking to freeze your green beans so that you can enjoy them year round? Check out our Freezing Summertime Favorites feature.

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