All of the food you eat brings a story to the table. Green beans are no exception. These tiny green marvels aren’t just packed full of tastiness. They also have a long history filled with lots of fun facts. Read on to learn some interesting green bean facts and how they make for one fascinating veggie.
Green Bean Plants: A Brief Rundown
Green beans are a staple of any good garden. They’re easy to plant and require very little care to grow up big and strong. They aren’t picky about soil and don’t need fertilizer because they create their own nitrogen.1
All and all, green beans are a hearty and practical plant for most home gardeners, which is probably why they have been cultivated for thousands of years.2
Green beans grow in two varieties. The bush bean only grows a few feet and doesn’t need any support. The pole bean plant grows on a vine upwards and requires a trellis for support. They can grow up to 10 feet high under the right conditions.3
Funny Green Bean Facts You May Not Have Known
The green bean celebrates a long history in gardens and on dinner tables throughout the world. Sure, it’s a Thanksgiving staple in casseroles. But, it’s been a popular and important food for much longer than that. All that time on the planet has produced more than a few funny green bean facts. Check out a few of them below.
Green Beans: A Long Food History
The common green bean boasts a long history as a foodstuff. It has been cultivated in Mexico for over 7,000 years.4
The green pods spread around the world and became an integral staple for many cultures. They made their first restaurant appearance in the earliest days French gastronomy. This might be where they got their first dressing of olive oil or sauté in butter.5
Green Bean Health Benefits
Green beans are a versatile and healthy food. You can add them to all sorts of recipes for extra flavor and nutrients. They are full of healthy vitamins and very low in calories. This makes them a welcome addition to any dish, like mushroom soup, casseroles, or even a raw veggie platter.6
Additionally, green beans are naturally free of saturated fat and cholesterol. This means they’re heart healthy and great if you’re following a weight loss diet.7,8
And if that’s not enough, green beans are also a low FODMAP food. This means they do not contain carbohydrates that are difficult to digest. So, adding green beans to your diet might help promote good digestive health.9
Green beans are also a great source of the following:
- Vitamins A, K, and C to aid cell development and immune function
- Dietary fiber to help with digestion
- Folic acid to support healthy tissue growth10
Good For The Soil
Green beans work wonders on more than your body. They are also good for the gardens where they grow. That’s because green beans capture nitrogen from the air and release it into the soil. This provides nutrients for future beans and other plants to grow.11
A Garden Favorite
Green beans can tolerate a wide variety of soil types. So, no matter what kind of soil you have, you can probably grow green beans. Plus, they require very little care other than watering and light weeding.12
The Most Popular Pods In The U.S.
Green beans are the most popular pod beans in America.13 Unlike shell beans like lima or fava, you can eat the outside pods of green beans.14 This is great, because no extra work is required. You simply throw the whole bean, pods and all, in your mouth for a snack.
Green Beans Aren’t Always Green
Despite their name, green beans aren’t always green. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, like yellow, purple, black, and speckled.15
There are thousands of different beans in the world and over 130 varieties of green beans alone.16
A Wide Variety Beyond Colors
All those varieties can make it tough to choose which kind of green bean to grow or eat. Now, you probably won’t find that many versions at the garden or grocery store. The more common bean seeds for growing and eating are:
- Haricot Verts
- Yellow Wax Beans
- Purple Beans
- String beans17
The Snap Bean
Did you know that green beans are also called “snap beans?” That’s because they used to have a long fibrous string that extended from end to end along their seam, similar to what runner beans still have.18 When you opened them, the string would produce a snapping sound. The little tail has since been removed with breeding techniques, but the nickname remains.19
Canned Green Beans Vs Fresh Green Beans
When it comes to flavor, it’s tough to beat a summer green bean straight from the plant. But, in terms of nutrition, canned green beans can be just as healthy for you as fresh beans. That’s because they are picked at peak freshness and instantly canned. This preserves all of those essential vitamins and nutrients. Just try to avoid any cans that are high in sodium.20
A Great Food To Preserve
Green beans are great vegetables to preserve. You can pickle, can, or freeze them. This is a great way to bring summer nutrition and tastiness into the cold months of winter. Make sure you blanch them before preserving, as it helps retain the vitamins and keeps the beans from becoming tough.21
A Deeper Relationship With Your Food
The most important green bean fact is that they are delicious and healthy. They can elevate the flavor and nutrition of all sorts of dishes, like a curry or a cream of mushroom soup. You can pickle them to brighten up a salad, freeze them for a future casserole, or even serve them baked with some fried onions. This versatility is part of the reason that beans have enjoyed such a long and tasty history.
Hopefully, a deeper understanding of the past and all the funny green bean facts will make you appreciate all those bites just a little bit more. So, the next time you find green beans on your dinner table, you can take a moment to rejoice in this tiny green phenomenon.
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