Like many other varieties in its family, green beans originate in Central and South America, revealing evidence that they were first grown in Mexico and Peru thousands of years ago. It was brought to the Mediterranean regions by the same famous navigator – Christopher Columbus, in 1492, being cultivated with great interest in Italy, Greece, and Turkey. Today, however, it is a vegetable of global importance, with China, Indonesia, and India as the top largest producers.
Over time, green beans have even undergone changes. One of the most important is the disappearance of that small connecting thread between the halves of the pod (inedible part, which had to be removed manually). We owe this to Calvin N. Keeney, nicknamed “the father of stringless beans.”
Green beans are a vegetable endowed with special therapeutic virtues. Also known as a “sugar consumer,” green beans prevent the absorption of sugar and are a source of fat-free protein.
How much do green beans cost?
The average price of a pound of green beans is $3.15, but you can find them for cheaper during the summer months when they’re in season or on sale at your local grocery store. When in these periods of time, you can purchase one pound of green beans for less than $1. If you are on a budget, you can choose to buy canned green beans that cost around $0.94 per pound or frozen green beans, which cost $1.80 per pound.
In the table below are presented the price for green beans at some local grocery stores:
|2-pound Vacuum Sealed Fresh Bag||$7|
|12-ounce Vacuum Sealed Fresh Bag||$4.75|
|12-ounce Store Branded Frozen Bag||$1.25|
|Del Monte 14.5-ounce Canned Fresh Cut||$1.25|
|C&W Cut Italian Green Beans 14.5-ounce||$3.25|
|Store Branded 14.5-ounce Canned Fresh Cut||$0.80|
|10-ounce Organic Frozen Green Beans||$1.75|
|Green Giant 14.5-ounce Canned Fresh Cut||$1.25|
|14.5-ounce Organic Canned Beans||$1.85|
Types of green beans
Green beans are a healthy and affordable way to get your vegetables. You can find fresh green beans at any grocery store in the vegetable aisle or on the shelf with other similar produce items. If handpicking isn’t an option for whatever reason, then look around because there will be vacuum-packed bags.
Canned green beans come in all shapes and sizes, but the most common is 14-ounces. They can be stored either with water, oil, or both for your convenience.
Frozen green beans can be found in the freezer section and come with various cooking options. Some brands have a bag designed for microwaving, which will result in cooked vegetables steamed right within it, while other bags need to be doused into hot water before use so that they’re edible once thawed from their frozen state.
Important things to consider
Green beans have a rich content of proteins and fibers, a rich range of vitamins, both fat-soluble and water-soluble (vitamin A, provitamin A (beta carotene), the range of vitamin B complex, vitamin C, vitamin K), minerals (calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, copper, even phosphorus, etc.) and omega 3 fatty acids.
Green beans contain a very large amount of water (about 90%). They are a good source of folic acid (which prevents defects in the neural tube of the fetus) and which, together with vitamin B12, is essential for DNA synthesis and cell division.
When we want to buy fresh green beans, we must pay attention to the color of the pod: it must not be brown or overly green. Also, the size of the pod is just as important, an indicator of its degree of aging. In addition, to cook evenly, the pods should be about the same size.
As for the storage period, green beans last in the refrigerator for 5 days if not washed and kept in an unsealed bag.
In the freezer, the pods will last for 10 months if they are washed, cut into pieces, blanched for 2 minutes in boiling water, and put in a sealed bag.
To preserve the beautiful green color of the pods once cooked, quickly transfer to ice-cold water to stop the cooking process, and the beans will remain crispy.
Green beans are a very versatile variety and easy to cook, it can be prepared in boiling water or in a hot pan.
People with kidney and biliary disorders are not advised to eat green beans because they contain oxalates, substances that can prevent the absorption of calcium can accumulate in body fluids, crystallize, and can lead to kidney stones.
Green beans nutrition
How to steam green beans
You can steam green beans in three different ways: with the pan, a steamer basket, or by using your microwave. The process of cooking them in this way will help maintain their color as well as keep some nutritional values.
In order to steam via a pan, you should put a half-inch of salted water to boil in a large frying pan. Once the boiling point has been reached, add green beans, cover, and cook until all moisture has evaporated, which should take 3-6 minutes, depending on the type used for cooking (chopped versus whole).
Boil an inch of water in a pot that fits your steamer basket. Once the water is boiling, place beans into the basket and cover it for 5 minutes or until you’re satisfied with how crisp they are.
You can steam your beans in the microwave using a one-minute process. All you need for this recipe is about 1 tablespoon of water, some paper towels or an oven-safe plate, and a large bowl. Place the beans and water in the bowl, cover it with the towel, and microwave for a minute.
How can I save money?
The best time to buy your beans is when they are on sale. The majority of grocery stores will have sales around the holidays, especially during December and January, when people like making their favorite dishes using these ingredients.
Local produce is often cheaper than its national counterpart. Farmers grow, harvest, and sell their goods locally, too, so you can find the best deals on green beans in your area.
Buy green beans when they’re in season. They’ll be cheaper in November and December, and you can enjoy them at their prime.
There are many brands to choose from if you want to buy frozen or canned green beans, but the store-brand version will be just as good, maybe even better, and for sure cheaper.
If you want to stock up on green beans, then grow your own. You can purchase a package of seeds for only $1 and, if they’re cared for properly, could produce one pint every three days.
It is a great way to enjoy fresh produce when it’s in season. For instance, U-pick farms usually charge by the quart and can be found around most areas during the year with some exceptions like the winter.