Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Beans

Snap beans, string beans, and pole beans are the immature pod and beans of dried legumes. All of these will mature to produce fat seeds and tough inedible pods. The nutritional profile of mature dried beans is very different from that of green beans. Green beans are a good source of carbohydrates. They are a moderate source of protein, dietary fiber, Vitamin C and beta carotene. The beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body. Green beans also contain small amounts of calcium and other trace nutrients.


Nutrition Facts

(1/2 cup fresh cooked fresh green beans)


  • Calories 15
  • Dietary fiber 1.6 grams
  • Protein 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates 3.5 mg
  • Vitamin A 340 IU
  • Vitamin C 7.5 mg
  • Folic Acid 21 mg
  • Calcium 31.5 mg
  • Iron .4 mg
  • Potassium 94.5 mg



Fresh pole beans and bush beans can be stored, unwashed in plastic bags in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

  • Do not wash them before storing.
  • Wet beans will develop black spots and decay quickly.
  • Wash beans just before preparation.

Preparation and Serving

Tiny immature green beans from any variety are delicious served raw in fresh salads. They are tender and mildly flavored. Mature green beans need to be cooked or blanched before eating. Only the stem end needs to be removed. Wash beans under cold running water and drain. Green beans retain color and nutritional value best if they are cooked whole. Cooking time should always be brief.


Home Preservation

Green beans can be frozen, dried or canned. Immature beans retain more color and undergo less texture and flavor loss during freezing. All vegetables must be blanched before freezing. Unblanched vegetables quickly become tough and suffer huge nutrient and color loss. Vegetables naturally contain an active enzyme that causes deterioration of plant cells, even during freezing. Blanching before freezing retards the enzyme activity.

Freezing does not improve the quality of any vegetable. Freezing actually can magnify undesirable characteristics. For instance, woodiness in stalks become more noticeable upon thawing. Select vegetables grown under favorable conditions and prepare for freezing as soon after picking as possible. Vegetables at peak quality for eating will produce best results in the freezer.

  • In a blanching pot or large pot with a tight fitting lid, bring 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil.
  • Meanwhile, wash beans, trim stem ends and cut into1-inch pieces or leave whole.
  • Blanch no more than one pound at a time. Add beans to boiling water and immediately cover with a tight fitting lid.
  • Start timing immediately and blanch for four minutes.
  • Prepare an ice water bath in a large 5-quart container or the sink.
  • Remove beans from water with slotted a spoon or blanching basket.
  • Immerse in the ice water bath for five minutes or until cooled. If you do not have ice, use several changes of cold water or running cold water. Remove and drain.
  • Pack cold beans in zip-closure freezer bags or freezer containers. Squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing bags.
  • Label and date each container or bag. Immediately place in the freezer, allowing an inch of space around each container until it is frozen. Freeze for up to one year at 0 degrees F. or below.


Blanching water can be used over and over again. Add more water if necessary. Remember to always bring water back to a rolling boil before blanching more vegetables.


Enhancing Flavors

Herbs and spices that compliment green beans include dill, mint, basil, sage, thyme, summer savory, garlic, onions and dry mustard.



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