Thursday, October 11, 2012

Crisp, seasonal & delicious Green beans

It seems that Green bean seeds came from Central America, which has a tropical humid climate and a place where they love to grow since warmer climates are best for their growth and development. Later, they were brought into Europe sometime in the 16th century by Spanish explorers who were  coming back from one of their trips to the New World. At some point thereafter, these green veggies were introduced to other parts of the world by Spanish and Portuguese traders. Currently,  some of the largest commercial producers of fresh green beans include Argentina, China, Egypt, France, Indonesia, India, Iraq, Italy, France, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United States.

Green beans are so good for you and so easy to prepare! Whether you are making a green bean casserole or just making a green bean salad, they are low calorie and highly nutritious.

These veggies have a plentiful source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. Vitamin A in particular is at high levels and helps in protecting against oxygen-free radicals and also plays a role in aging more gracefully! They contain a good amount of folates and vitamin B-12 that are essential for DNA synthesis. A few other minerals? Yes!  A good amount of minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese and potassium, which assist in body metabolism. Potassium in particular is important for maintaining body fluids, which help, in controlling blood pressure and heart rate.

I usually cook them in a large pot of boiling water for a few minutes. I then cool them slightly and add other ingredients such as sliced cherry tomatoes and sliced Crimini mushrooms and if I have some fresh herbs around (which I usually do) I'll add some chopped fresh basil or thyme along with some cashews or pistachios. I drizzle the combination of ingredients with some extra-virgin olive oil, a little red-wine vinegar and Kosher salt and pepper. Voila!

A recipe I found from Good Housekeeping from the late 60s had a recipe for Green Beans Parmesan.  It uses 2 lb. green beans, 1 small onion, minced, ½ cup salad oil, ¼ cup wine vinegar, 1 tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. pepper, ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tbsp. chopped anchovies (optional).
Cut beans on angle into 2 inch pieces; cook until tender. Drain; cool, toss with ingredients, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

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