Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!
Nutritional and Other Information
About Beans from
the Barren County Farmers' Market

Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

Green or Snap Beans

There are several types of edible-pod beans including snap beans (green and wax); haricots vert - French green beans that are thinner than their American relatives; Italian green bean also called Romano or flat beans and are recognized by their broad, flat pods. You can also find purple beans that will turn bright green when cooked; Scarlet runner beans that look similar to the Romano beans but the seeds are a bright scarlet color; and yard-long beans which originate from Asia and can reach great lengths but are better at 18 inches long or less and are good for stir-frying.

Nutritionally, the pods of the beans don’t contain the high amount of protein that dried beans contain but they are a good source of vitamin A, calcium, potassium, and fiber.

Selecting a quality product

Pick beans that are brightly colored and “snap” when broken. However, haricots verts may not snap because they are so thin. Unless you like shelled out beans do not buy beans if you can see the seeds bulging through the pod or that are woody or stringy. Beans with tough skins or that appear wilted should also be passed up as "snaps" but can also be used as "shellies." Some people prefer just the pods with little bean to them, some like them full beaned and with shelled out beans included..

Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

Tips on Storage

Beans may be stored in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper section of your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Do not wash till ready to use as this can cause mold. Eat as soon after purchase as possible because beans will lose their flavor, nutrients, and quality as time passes.

Beans can also be frozen for long-term storage. Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes then rinse in cold water, dry and store in an airtight container. They can also be frozen in water to prevent freezer burn and can be kept a little longer this way.

Tips on cooking

Wash thoroughly in cold water and snap off ¼ inch from each end unless you don't mind the tips. If the beans have a string, you will need to remove it from each bean to keep them from being cooked with the beans. This is done by breaking one end and pulling the string down the length of the bean then the other end done in the same manner, the string being pulled down the opposite side. The beans may be left whole or cut into smaller pieces depending upon use. Beans that are cooked whole will retain more of their nutrients. Steam or boil uncovered for about 15 minutes. They should be bright and tender but not soft. You can add beans to soups, stews, or stir-fries.

Ways to use:

Add olive oil, margarine, vegetable oil or butter
Marinate overnight in a dill vinaigrette
Fry bacon and crumble over beans after drizzling a little of the drippings over the beans

Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

Dried Beans

There are many varieties of dried beans. In some Eastern cultures, legumes were a basic dietary staple that can be traced back more than 20,000 years. The lima and pinto bean were cultivated for the first time in the very earliest Mexican and Peruvian civilizations more than 5,000 years ago, being popular in both the Aztec and Inca cultures.

Dried beans or legumes are an inexpensive and healthy way to include into your 5-A-Day diet. A serving (1/3 cup of cooked beans) contains around 80 calories, no cholesterol, lots of complex carbohydrates, and little fat. In addition, beans are a good source of B vitamins, potassium, and fiber, which promotes digestive health and relieves constipation. Eating beans may help prevent colon cancer, and reduce blood cholesterol (a leading cause of heart disease).

Beans alone are not complete proteins, but combined with a grain are a complete meal. So it is important to eat beans with grain products contain combinations. For example, mixing corn with any meal with beans will make a complete protein as well as other mixtures.

Legumes may cause intestinal discomfort, you can minimize this effect by changing the water you soak them in several times when you prepare dried beans, or switching to canned beans. When canned, some of the gas-producing substances are eliminated. Be sure to rinse the beans well to wash off excess salt. Another option is BeanoTM, which contains an enzyme that breaks down gas-producing substances in the beans.

Eating legumes means, drinking more fluids. As you include more beans into your meals, it's important to drink adequate fluids and exercise regularly so that your gastrointestinal system can handle the increased dietary fiber.

Selecting a quality product

Selecting dried beans is easy. Look for beans that are clean and completely dry. Do not buy if you see any spots or mold on the beans. Most of the beans you buy in regular grocery stores are in great shape.

Eat 5 A Day for Good Health!

Tips on Storage

Store dried beans in airtight containers in an area that doesn't get too hot. You can freeze them if you want. Use within a year of purchase, if they get too old they will be harder to cook.

Tips on cooking

You need to "look" beans before cooking to remove any stones or other dirt that may be in them. They should be clean but you need to rinse them to remove any dust or small debris. Soaking overnight is the best way to cook dried beans. It reduces cooking time considerably. Also, as mentioned earlier, changing the soaking water a time or two may help get rid of some of the gas producing chemicals.

Be sure to use enough water not only to cover the beans but to allow for absorption of some of the liquid. You can season them as you wish. Some people say that if you add salt to the water at the beginning the beans will not get soft. This is not true. You can add it at any time. A nice big chunk of ham always goes well with beans. It is a tradition in several parts of the country to have black eyed peas and hog jowl on New Year's Day.

Ways to use:

Mashed up with garlic as "refried beans"
Tossed into salad or salsa
Turn Chick Peas into Hummus
Add to Chili


Impossible Green Bean Pie

8 oz fresh green beans, cut lengthwise into strips
1 1/2 cups milk
4 oz can mushrooms, stems and pieces, drained
3/4 cup Bisquick Baking Mix
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 eggs
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp salt
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 tsp pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 10 inch pie plate. Heat beans and 1 inch salted water (1/2 teaspoon salt to 1 cup water) to boiling. Cook uncovered 5 minutes. Cover and cook until tender, 5 to 10 minutes; drain. Mix beans, mushrooms, onion, garlic and cheese in plate. Beat remaining ingredients until smooth, 15 seconds in blender on high or 1 minute with hand beater. Pour into plate. Bake until knife inserted between center and edge comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Szechuan Green Beans

6 Garlic cloves, peeled
2 Quarter-sized slices ginger
2 Scallions, cut in 2" lengths
1 tbsp Vegetable oil
1 tsp Hot red-pepper flakes
1 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp Rice wine vinegar
1 lb Green beans, tipped/tailed

Peel garlic and ginger. Smash garlic. Trim scallions and cut into 2" lengths (don't be fancy, the next step is a food processor). Place garlic, ginger, and scallions into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Remove to a 14x11x2" dish. Add oil and pepper flakes. Cook in microwave, uncovered, at 100% for 3 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir in remaining ingredients, tossing gently to coat green beans. Cook, uncovered, at 100% for 10-15 minutes, stirring 4-5 times. Serve hot or cold.

Three Bean Salad

1 Can Green beans
1 Can Red kidney beans rinsed and drained
1 Can Yellow wax beans rinsed and drained
1/2 Cup Vinegar
1/2 Cup Onion; cut in rings
1/2 Cup Green pepper; chopped
1/2 Cup Oil
3/4 Cup Sugar
Salt & Pepper

Into a large bowl, mix the beans together. Make the dressing (rest of ingredients) and pour over the beans. Refrigerate overnight. Drain before serving.

Three Bean Soup

1 can (28 oz) tomatoes, cut up
3 cups water
1 tsp chili powder
1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained
1 can (15 oz) black eyed peas, drained
1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained
1 can (15 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 onion, medium, chopped
1 1/2 tsp garlic, chopped
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp oregano, dried
1 tsp basil, dried
1 cup zucchini or celery, chopped

Combine first 13 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Stir in vegetables and simmer, covered for 10 minutes more.

New Orleans Red Beans

1 lb dry red beans
2 quarts water
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
4 bay leaves
1 cup chopped sweet green pepper
3 tbsp chopped garlic
3 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Pick through beans to remove bad beans; rinse thoroughly. In a 5-quart pot, combine beans, water, onion, celery, and bay leaves. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and cook over low heat for about 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Stir and mash beans against side of pan. Add green pepper, garlic, parsley, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Cook, uncovered, over low heat until creamy, about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Serve over hot, cooked brown rice, if desired.


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