Harvest of the Month: Green Beans
Countless American kids over the generations have recognized that summer had truly arrived when they were
handed that first paper bag full of green beans and told to snap them into pieces for cooking.
Apparently, it’s a rite of passage with a long history. Types of green beans have been traced back to ancient Egypt, but
the green beans we know best here in the U.S. are believed to have originated in Peru and worked their way north to win favor throughout the Americas. Spanish explorers took the beans to Europe in the 16th Century, and they soon spread across the globe. Now they’re staples in a many cultures, even if the ways they are prepared might vary broadly from place to place.
Today, green beans are grown in most regions of the U.S., with the leading producers being Wisconsin, Florida and New York. Some varieties can be eaten raw, but most are cooked. Either way, they deliver healthy doses of Vitamins A,
C and K, as well as antioxidants and a big portion of the daily recommended amount of fiber.
When shopping, choose green beans that are crisp and firm, and, for ease of preparation, look for the straightest ones.
Avoid those with soft spots or discoloring. If you’re not going to eat them right away, store them in the refrigerator in a
plastic bag. If they’ll be stored for a longer time, put a paper towel in the bag to absorb moisture.