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Green Beans – All You Need to Know | Instacart Guide to Fresh Produce

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Jun 21, 2021

What are green beans?

Green beans, a versatile type of fresh produce, come in various varieties with different names, such as French beans, string beans, and snap beans. Although green beans are considered vegetables, they are actually the young unripe fruits of various common beans known as Phaseolus vulgaris. More than 130 varieties of green beans exist today.

The term “string bean” relates to the string that runs down the body of the bean and is visible when the bean is cracked in half or “snapped.” Green beans can also be cultivated without strings.

Home and professional chefs have found a wide range of uses for raw and cooked green beans. Find them fresh, canned, or frozen, but choose fresh beans (like other fresh produce) to get the most nutrients. Some of the most popular green bean dishes are soups, casseroles, and stews. They can, like cucumbers, be pickled. But the most popular use of green beans is the ubiquitous and highly popular Thanksgiving casserole.

Green beans can be cooked and eaten whole or sliced into smaller pieces for easy consumption. Like pea pods, they are eaten with the seeds inside.

Where did green beans originate from?

The first appearance of green beans was in Peru. Migrating tribes then introduced them to Central and South America. Explorers brought them to Europe in the 16th century. They were first used as ornamental plants in Spain but then found their way to recipes and restaurant menus.

What is the nutritional value of green beans?

Like snap peas and okra, green beans have many nutritional benefits. As with all vegetables, eating fresh rather than canned or frozen varieties is the best way to optimize nutritional value. Produce delivery is a great way to fill a pantry or refrigerator with high-fiber and healthy fresh vegetables year-round.

Green beans are very low in calories. In fact, 1 cup of raw beans has only about 30 calories, almost no fat content, and very little natural sugar. Fresh green beans are also very low in sodium but contain a lot of fiber, which is one way they promote heart health. Their contents may also lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation.

Some of the vitamins in green beans include vitamin K, thiamin, vitamin B-6, vitamin E, and niacin. An important mineral green beans contain is manganese, which has antioxidant abilities, accelerates wound healing, and contributes to bone health. But that’s not all. Green beans also contain zinc, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, and phosphorous.

How are green beans grown?

The best planting season for green beans is April and May. They are planted about an inch deep and 2–3in apart. They take approximately 45 to 60 days to fully mature. They must be planted once temperatures rise to 60°F because they don’t grow well in cold weather.

A trellis or netting often supports green beans as they grow. Beans must be picked when they are young and tender. Once they start to bulge, they are past their prime.

When are green beans in season?

Green beans are available all year round. May to October is considered the prime season for green beans.

Because so many varieties of green beans exist, home chefs always have access to them. However, fresh green beans are the richest in nutrients and are crispier than other green beans.

How do you pick green beans at the grocery store?

Green beans are readily available in the fresh produce section of the grocery store. They are usually loose in bins, enabling shoppers to select the ones they like.

The freshest green beans have firm and slender pods that will snap easily when bent. The outside skin is bright green and free of cuts and brown spots. When choosing green beans for a recipe, select similar ones so that they cook uniformly. If beans are large, they may be overly ripe.

If you are looking to have your groceries delivered, you can easily shop for various green beans via Instacart. After adding a product to your cart, use the “Instructions” option to notify your Instacart shopper about any preferences or specific directions on how to choose the best products.

How to store green beans

When green beans arrive in your kitchen, store them in an unsealed plastic storage bag. They will keep for about 4 days. When ready to use them, wash them. If they are washed before storage, they may grow mold.

Green beans will also freeze well. Wash them thoroughly and cut off the stem ends before freezing. Cut them into pieces of about 2in each, boil them for about 2 to 3 minutes, and then put them into a bath of ice water. Once they are dried, they can be stored in a plastic bag or freezer container for as long as 10 months. Pickling green beans will also extend their life.

How to tell if green beans are bad

As noted above, green beans that are spotted or puffy are past their prime. If seeds are protruding from the shell, the green beans are overripe. Once they are in your kitchen or refrigerator, they will get mushy if not used or frozen within the suggested timeframe. Watch for softness or odor.

What can I substitute for green beans?

Because so many varieties of green beans exist, you have plenty of substitution options. In a pinch, frozen or canned green beans are the best substitute. Keeping them on-hand year-round is the optimal choice.

Thin asparagus and nopalitos (cactus paddle strips) are other options.

How do I find green beans near me?

Instacart offers same-day delivery and pickup, so filling your refrigerator with fresh produce is relatively easy. Whether preparing a traditional holiday casserole, adding green beans to your diet as a raw and healthy snack, or using them to dress up salads and hearty meals, you will find them very versatile. Shop green beans now.

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